OTTUMWA, Iowa – A March 16 fire damaged a Cargill pork processing facility, according to the Ottumwa Courier. The local fire department estimated the damage at $250,000.

Flames were spotted at the plant around 2 p.m. The fire broke out in an area of the plant where there were no people or animals, according to the news reports. No injuries were reported.

“The midday Saturday fire at Cargill’s Ottumwa, Iowa, pork processing plant was apparently caused by sparks from a contract welding company doing work in the rendering portion of the facility,” said Mike Martin, Cargill spokesman. “The fire was limited to a small area and involved grease and a fiberglass storage tank in the area. Flames were seen coming through the roof and there was a plume of black smoke due to the grease burning."
Martin added that firefighters extinguished the fire in about one hour, and the plant was operating normally Monday morning. Cargill does not have a damage estimate.

“Damage included some product that had to be disposed of due to smoke, but that small amount will be made up during the week,” he said. “Although the newspaper quoted the fire department’s damage figure, we don’t have one yet.”