Tyson Foods is investigating a fire that happened at its poultry plant in Robards, Kentucky, on the afternoon of April 11.
“Our team members were immediately evacuated and fortunately, none of them were injured,” the company said in a statement. “We appreciate the quick response of local firefighters who quickly put out the fire and helped out team members.”
According to a report from TriState Homepage, the fire apparently started in a cooker at the plant. The structure itself was not damaged, but there was a small amount of damage to the facility’s ductwork.
Following the evacuation, operations resumed as normal, a company spokesperson said.
Tyson Foods acquired the plant in Robards in 1998, and in 2016, announced that it was initiating a capital improvement project at the facility, valued at $13.5 million. The improvements to the plant included new freezer equipment and the addition of two production lines, as well as processes and technology designed to benefit food safety, quality and workplace safety. That upgrade also led to the creation of 66 new jobs.
More recently, the Robards plant has been recognized as a leader in water resource stewardship. In 2019, the Robards facility was a recipient of an honorable mention with distinction award in the pretreatment category of the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association’s Clean Water Awards. It received a similar recognition through the 2020 Clean Water Awards program.
Other recent fires at Tyson Foods facilities include a one at a Tyson Foods rendering plant in Temperanceville, Virginia, in September 2020; one at a poultry plant in Nashville, Arkansas, in July 2020; and one at a beef plant in Holcomb, Kansas, in August 2019.
Tyson Foods, according to the WATTPoultry.com Top Companies Database, is the largest poultry producer in the United States and the second largest in the world. In 2020, the company produced 200.7 million pounds of ready-to-cook chicken on a weekly basis. Tyson Foods is also the fifth largest turkey producer in the United States.