A fire partly destroyed the Tyson Foods beef plant in Holcomb, Kansas on August 9.
The plant will be down indefinitely, however; the company plans to rebuild the plant at the same location. Officials are still assessing the damage, so it’s too early to establish a timeline, but work to clear damage has already begun, the company stated in a press release.
“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.”
Stouffer said the team members may be called on to work during this time to help with clean-up and other projects, but regardless of the hours worked, all full-time active employees are guaranteed pay.
“We’re taking steps to move production to alternative sites,” Stouffer 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.”
The fire started in the plant’s box shop, according to a report from the Garden City Telegram.
Stouffer commended plant management for quickly and efficiently evacuating the building. As a result of their actions, there were no injuries reported during the fire. The company greatly appreciates the hard work, dedication and help from the Holcomb and Garden City, Kansas fire departments, as well as the Finney County sheriff’s office.
Tyson Foods operates six plants in Kansas, employing more than 5,600 people. In the company’s fiscal year 2018, it paid $269 million in wages within Kansas and estimated its total economic impact in the state to be more than $2.4 billion.
State assistance sent
In response to the disaster, state officials offered assistance.
According to a press release from Gov. Laura Kelly, Kansas Secretary of Commerce David Toland and Kansas Secretary of Agriculture Mike Beam went to Finney County to meet with Tyson Foods representatives, as well as local government and economic development officials to offer and coordinate support from the state as needed. The state’s Department of Commerce and Department of Labor have rapid response resources available to assist employees and businesses affected by closings and other setbacks.
“Our agencies are prepared to coordinate support for Tyson and its workers as needed during this challenging time,” Kelly said.