A contracted worker who was cleaning equipment at the House of Raeford poultry plant in Teachey, North Carolina, was involved in a fatal accident at the plant on October 25.

Duplin County Sheriff Blake Wallace told WITN the person, whose identity has not been released, was pronounced dead at the scene after apparently falling into a piece of equipment. The victim was an employee of Packers Sanitation Services Inc.

The incident is under investigation. The North Carolina State Department of Labor said a preliminary investigation revealed that the worker was caught between an auger blade and the wall of a chiller.

House of Raeford’s plant in Teachey opened in the summer of 2018 after a fire severely damaged the company’s facility at the same location in February 2017. Damages from that fire were so bad that the company opted to demolish the plant and build a new one. As of April, the Teachey facility was only operating at partial capacity, processing about 700,000 chickens per week. The plant was not expected to reach full capacity until the fall of 2020.

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House of Raeford Farms was honored during the 2018 National Safety Conference for the Poultry Industry, receiving four Awards of Distinction. Those awards were earned by the company’s processing plants in Arcadia, Louisiana; Rose Hill, North Carolina; and West Columbia, South Carolina; as well as House of Raeford’s hatchery in Lavonia, Georgia.

House of Raeford Farms, according to the WATTAgNet Top Poultry Companies Database, processed 27.14 million pounds of ready-to-cook chicken on a weekly basis in 2018, making it the tenth largest poultry company in the United States. It is also is the 49th largest poultry company in the world.

House of Raeford Farms was founded in the mid-1950s, and it remains a family-owned business. Headquartered in Rose Hill, North Carolina, the company’s key brands are House of Raeford and Columbia Farms.