Food processing

Massive fire engulfs Salinas food processing plant; Evacuated neighborhoods – CBS San Francisco

SALINAS (CBS SF/BCN) — A massive 4-alarm fire broke out at the Taylor Farms food processing plant in Salinas late Wednesday night, prompting the evacuation of surrounding neighborhoods.

The evacuation notice was issued around 2.19am and was for areas near the fire between South Main Street, East Alisal Street, Alisal Road and Harris Road.

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Officials said they were issuing the order because of the potential for an explosion and a hazmat plume of ammonia that can alter affected areas with changes in wind direction.

“The fire has progressed to the point that it poses a significant risk of a potential explosion of ammonia that is in the plant,” said Sam Klemek, deputy fire chief and operations commander. “For this reason, we have withdrawn our units to a safe area and have issued evacuation notices for the immediate area around the plant.”

A shelter-in-place order has been expanded to include areas south of Constitution Blvd. to Spreckels Avenue and east of Main Street and Highway 68 to Hartnell Road.

Authorities were asking residents in the general area to stay indoors and keep pets inside, close all windows and turn off heating, ventilation and fans.

The evacuation announcement added that officials may need to expand the scene to a complete closure of a 1-mile radius of US Highway 101 in both directions.

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Firefighters were asking the community to avoid the freeway and use Old Stage Road as an alternate route.

Salinas Fire Chief Michele Vaughn said nearly 100 firefighters battled the blaze at the cold storage processing plant where a welding project started a fire in a wall and eventually spread attic of the 225,000 square foot facility.

No people or products were inside the factory, which was closed for the season and was due to reopen on Monday.

At 11:30 p.m., firefighters said the blaze was not under control and there had been multiple roof collapses. Large plumes of black smoke could be seen coming out of the building.

The plant is located in the 1200 block of Abbott Street, in an industrial area of ​​the city. The facility contains approximately 40,000 gallons of ammonia.

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No injuries were reported in the blaze, the chief said, but there were several propane tank explosions.