Grand Island, Neb. — Firefighters contained a blaze Monday morning at a Grand Island meatpacking plant 12 hours after first arriving on the scene. Grand Island Fire Chief Cory Schmidt says crews were first called to the JBS plant at 9:50 p.m. Sunday and arrived to find flames in the rendering area of the plant. The fire kept firefighters at the plant all night and into late Monday morning as the fire spread in concealed spots within the plant’s ceiling and walls.
Schmidt says, “the fire appears to have started on the underside, in the actual roof structure itself, up high — and it was contained primarily to the roof and the structural components of the roof — fortunately it didn’t spread to other areas of the plant and the plant is still functioning in a limited capacity, but they do have some major clean-up work to to do to regain full function.”
No injuries have been reported. The fire has interrupted work at the plant, with workers told not to report to work Monday. JBS posted on Facebook that fabrication and slaughter A and B shifts would not be working Monday and that any updates would be posted as soon as possible. Chief Schmidt says the fire marshal is investigating to determine the cause of the fire.
Industry observers feared there could be a similar impact to when a fire disrupted operations at large Tyson beef plant in Kansas for months in 2019. JBS spokeswoman Nikki Richardson said the company expects to resume operations at the plant Tuesday because the fire did not impact the main production areas.
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Overnight Grand Island Fire Department was called to the JBS plant for a fire on the roof of the rendering section of the plant.
The fire department around 11:30 p.m. tweeted out that the fire had been upgraded to a five alarm fire. JBS posted on their Facebook page, “As of this time fabrication and slaughter A and B shift will not be working September 13, 2021 we will post updates as soon as possible.”