HOLCOMB, Kan. — A massive fire at the Tyson Foods beef plant in Holcomb, Kansas, on Aug. 9 forced the facility to close its doors indefinitely.
Although there is no timetable set and officials are still assessing the damage, Tyson Fresh Meats announced on Aug. 12 that it will rebuild the plant in the same location.
“This is a difficult time for our team members and their families, and we want to ensure they’re taken care of,” said Steve Stouffer, group president of Tyson Fresh Meats. “Today, we will notify our full-time, active team members that they’ll be paid weekly until production resumes.”
Tyson stated that some of the plant’s 3,800 employees might be called to work during this time to help with the clean-up and other projects. Regardless of their assistance, Stouffer said that all full-time active employees are guaranteed pay until the plant is operational again.
“We’re taking steps to move production to alternative sites,” he said. “Tyson Foods has built in some redundancy to handle situations like these and we will use other plants within our network to help keep our supply chain full.”
Informational meetings are being held for Tyson employees on Aug. 12, following this schedule:
- A Harvest and A Processing: 6:00 a.m.
- B Harvest and B Processing: 3:00 p.m.
- A MH, Freezer, and PBX: 10:00 a.m.
- B MH, Freezer, and PBX: 7:00 p.m.
- A Hides (in Hides break room): 11 a.m.
- B Hides (in Hides break room): 1 p.m.
Workers were evacuated about 8:30 p.m. on Friday after a fire started in the box shop. There were no reports of injuries. About 1,200 workers were on site when the fire started.
“We’re grateful no one was hurt during the fire at our Holcomb, Kansas, beef plant Friday night,” Tyson said in statement. “We appreciate the hard work, dedication and quick response from the Holcomb and Garden City fire departments, as well as the Finney County sheriff’s office.”
The Garden City police department said firefighters worked through the night to contain the fire. Once it was under control on Aug. 10, crews stayed on the scene throughout the day to keep an eye out for flare-ups.