Sunday , June 23 2024

$1 Million in Damage Estimated in Citrus Packing House Fire

A fire that broke out Tuesday night at the Visalia Citrus Packing Group, a Sunkist facility, in Woodlake, caused an estimated $1 million in damage, according to Fire Chief Anthony Perez with the Woodlake Fire District.

The fire started at 8:24 p.m. on a metal awning. Workers noticed it and reported the fire. About 40 employees were on scene and evacuated. No one was injured.

About 50 fire personnel from the Woodlake Fire District, Tulare County and Cal Fire responded to the two-alarm blaze.

An estimated 1 million empty cartons and 2,000 wood pellets burned. There was no damage to citrus, Perez said.

The cause is unknown, and firefighters are investigating to determine what started the blaze.

About 120 employees work at this facility, according to John Kalender, vice president of operations of the facility. He said employees will still be allowed to show up to work in the morning, unless firefighters advise against it.

Kalender said employees will probably move fruit to their Orange Cove facility to reduce the impact to operations.

Firefighters expect to fight the blaze through the night.

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