AUGUSTA, Ga. – Officials with FPL Food LLC said firefighters were called to its Augusta beef-processing plant the morning of March 27. Roof damage above the plant’s kill floor was reported by a spokesman for the company, who said the fire was discovered at approximately 1 a.m. According to a statement from FPL, no people were injured and no cattle were hurt in the blaze.

A sanitation crew was working in another area of the plant at the time of the fire, but their work in part of the facility that was affected had already been completed. The 200,000 sq.-ft. plant is expected to be closed for approximately one week for repairs to be made and FPL’s contingency plan is to move production to its other two plants, one of which is in Thomasville, Ga., and the other in Columbia, SC. Approximately 500 people work at the Augusta plant, the slaughtering and boxed-beef facility for the vertically integrated company.

The spokesman added that the damage was relatively minor and that no ammonia or gas leaks occurred as a result of the fire. Initial speculation of the cause of the fire is that it was an electrical issue, but an official cause has not been determined.
Read more about FPL Food in Meat&Poultry’s 2013 featureon the company.