IZMIT, Turkey—A Goodyear employee and two construction workers at a Pirelli Group plant site died in the Aug. 17 earthquake that struck the industrial city of Izmit, site of several major tire and automotive product manufacturers. Turkish government officials have placed the death toll at more than 13,000 but said it could reach 40,000 following the quake—which struck at 3 a.m. local time and measured about 7.4 on the Richter scale. Its epicenter was near Izmit, which is about 55 miles east of Istanbul.
Classified as a major quake, the temblor caused widespread damage to buildings and infrastructure.
However, it appears it will not significantly disrupt tire supplies coming out of the region.
Pirelli Group's company, Turk Pirelli Lastikleri in Izmit, is one of Pirelli's two truck tire plants in the European region.
A spokesman for the company said the construction company workers, who were not Pirelli employees, had died. There also were about 20 injuries at the plant, including two serious cases, he said.
The spokesman emphasized that Pirelli is putting its workers first, but noted that the damage in the factory was not serious.
The Izmit plant is in the midst of a $255 million expansion.
Goodyear said it received a report that an employee was killed at his home, and an undetermined number of workers also were injured in their homes.
The company suffered little damage to its Turkish facilities: a 550-employee tire plant in Izmit that produces 2,000 units per day, a 21,000-unit-per-day factory with 850 employees in nearby Adapazari and an office in Istanbul.
A warehouse wall was damaged at the plant in Adapazari and the Izmit office complex reportedly was affected by the quake. Goodyear officials said both plants will return to production as soon as possible when power is restored and general conditions permit.
The tire manufacturer said its first concern is for its employees and associates.
The company added that since its production systems are globally integrated, it expects to be able to cover, from stock, any short-term problems arising from the earthquake.
Besides Goodyear and Pirelli, Bridgestone Corp. operates a joint venture plant in Izmit with Sabanci Group.
Bridgestone Sabanci Tire Manufacturing and Trading Inc. produces 17,400 tires a day at the Izmit facility. A Bridgestone spokesman said the homes of some employees had collapsed, but he was only aware of a few minor injuries to workers in the plant. A crack had opened up in one wall of the plant, but he said that would not affect operations.