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Production to resume Tuesday at fire-damaged Grand Island meatpacking plant
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Production to resume Tuesday at fire-damaged Grand Island meatpacking plant

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GRAND ISLAND -- A fire at the JBS beef processing plant in Grand Island on Sunday night did not reach the primary production areas, officials said on Monday.

The plant, which was closed Monday, is expected to resume production on Tuesday.

The fire, reported just before 10 p.m. Sunday, originated in the rendering building that is separate from the main production facility.

Photos posted on social media on Sunday by the Grand Island Fire Department showed fire shooting through the roof.

There were no injuries, Grand Island Fire Department Capt. Jim Hale said.

The State Fire Marshal’s office is investigating. A damage estimate has not been released.

Nikki Richardson, JBS USA corporate communications director, said in a statement that operations are expected to resume pending an ongoing assessment of the facility.

“Thankfully, there were no injuries and we appreciate the Grand Island Fire Department for their quick response and support,” she wrote.

Fire crews on Monday were keeping an eye out for any flare-ups.

The late night call was a five-alarm fire, sending all available firefighters and equipment to the scene, Battalion Chief Scott Kuehl said.

The previous day’s crew was switched out and the new day’s crew was continuing to fight the fire at 9 a.m. Monday.

“It’s been very, very difficult,” Kuehl said. “It’s a large building with lots of concealed spaces in roofs and walls, so they’re having a tough time getting access to them to get them put out.”

The rendering building is not equipped with sprinklers, Kuehl said.

The Grand Island plant employs more than 3,600 people and has the capacity to process more than 1.4 million cattle per year.

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