Ohio "Boom Town" Thrives Making Containment Boom

The city of Massillon, Ohio, is giving new meaning to the phrase "boom town." A factory there is working overtime, making oil containment boom to help clean up the Gulf of Mexico.

Many people in this town were unemployed. In just a few weeks an old building in Massillon has been transformed to respond to the tragedy in the Gulf, reports CBS News correspondent Seth Doane.

A couple weeks ago the warehouse where the boom is manufactured was totally empty. Now Stanwood Boom Works makes that familiar bright colored oil containment boom.

Special Section: Disaster in the Gulf
Stanwood Boom Works

"It's similar to rallying around any cause," says Jeff Dimos. "Around Sept. 11 or anything that you see here, these people are rallying behind the cause of protecting the coastal line."

Stanwood originally sold just the parts but Dimos figured they could quickly assemble the boom itself. Finding willing workers in a place with more than 12 percent unemployment was even easier.

"We've put over 80 people to work here," says Dimos. A lot of the employees did not have jobs there before.

Chadd Hensel was one of them. He says everything at home has changed since he got the job. "It's just been a lot happier at home," he says.

When Hensel's daughter was born 15 months ago he was laid-off from his manufacturing job and searching for work ever since.

"[The motivation for making boom] is that [the oil] is spreading real fast," says Hensel. "So the more we can get out the more we can help.

Standwood's producing about two-and-a-half miles of boom here every day and have already shipped out enough to protect more than 30 miles of coastline. Still, there are more than 1,300 miles of shoreline to protect.

Dimos has a list of people who want jobs. With the list on the wall and a line-up of applicants, Stanwood hopes to expand production.

To critics who say that Stanwood is making money of other people's misfortune, Dimos says, "There's a good door and bad door. This is the good door. We're putting people to work in the U.S. right now who didn't have jobs. And we're remedying the cause."

And along with the booms they're producing at least some good news, too.

More oil spill coverage:

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  • Seth Doane

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