VIRGINIA - Fire Damages Portsmouth Meat-Processing Plant : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread


Title: Evening fire damages Portsmouth meat-processing plant


By RICHARD S. KOONCE March 21, 2000

PORTSMOUTH -- Firefighters quickly knocked down a two-alarm blaze Monday night at a meat-processing plant, but damage to a small area of the building prompted plant officials to cancel shifts for some workers. The fire, which was reported about 6:14 p.m., started in a ``bologna burner'' section of the Gwaltney plant, located in the 2100 block of Elmhurst Lane, said Paul Parker, spokesman for the Portsmouth Fire Department. Firefighters arrived at the scene about five minutes after the fire was reported, he said..

``Our first arriving crews knocked down the largest part of the fire rather quickly,'' Parker said.

About 44 firefighters, including six engines, two battalions and support crews, remained on the scene to ensure there wasn't ``an extension'' of the fire elsewhere in the plant, Parker said.

``The first arriving crews made sure there was no danger to the surrounding community from this fire before they proceeded,'' Parker said. ``It was well confined as far as our people acting very quickly to put this out.'' Plant officials canceled last night's and this morning's shifts for sanitation and production crews, Parker said. The plant's maintenance workers and supervisors, however, were asked to report to work this morning.

The Gwaltney Co. was established in Smithfield in 1980. The Portsmouth plant makes meat products, including bologna and hot dogs.

Officials had not determined what sparked the blaze, Parker said. No one was injured.

Reach Richard Koonce at 446-6415 or


-- (, March 21, 2000

Moderation questions? read the FAQ