The rapid response from the Turlock Fire Department and the quick actions of Foster Farms employees is being credited with keeping a fire that ignited at the Turlock facility from flaring up into a dangerous blaze.
At 2:38 p.m. Wednesday the Turlock Fire Department was dispatched to the Foster Farms facility at 711 W. F Street for a report of a fire. The first crew to arrive witnessed dark smoke coming out of one of the buildings and quickly called for additional crews to come to the scene.
Three additional engines, a battalion chief, and two division chiefs, for a total of 15 fire personnel were dispatched to the site due to the threat of the fire spreading through the large facility.
The workers at the Foster Farms plant had already been evacuated as a precaution and Foster Farms supervisory employees assisted the fire department by accounting for all personnel that had been in the building.
The fire fighters traced the fire to a grease basin container and began fighting it with the fire extinguishers on hand. A fire hose was brought into the building and used to put out the flames. No fire extended into the roof of the building and smoke was allowed to escape out of the building via a roof chimney. The fire was under control within 30 minutes after arrival on scene, according to the fire department.
Plant maintenance personnel quickly shut off the electrical power to the affected machinery.
The cause of the fire was determined to be a heating element in the cooking oil container that ignited and spread flames through the processing machinery.
No injuries to plant personnel or firefighters occurred.
The damage estimate was not available, but the fire was contained to the one machine and no structural damage occurred.
“A rapid response by Turlock firefighters averted what could have been a catastrophic loss to the processing facilities of one of Turlock’s largest employers,” said Turlock Mayor Gary Soiseth. “We appreciate the cooperation of Foster Farms in insuring the safety of their employees and commend our firefighters for a job well done.”