Fire at Tyson facility forces temporary closure

No injuries were reported from a fire that broke out Sunday night at the 1,400 employee Tyson Foods processing facility in the Jefferson Industrial Park, according to a company spokesman.

“A fire started in our Pine Bluff plant about 9 p.m. [Sunday] night,” Tyson Foods Public Relations Manager Worth Sparkman said Monday. “The damage was contained to one freezer and it will take some time for repairs. The plant was not operating at the time.”

Sparkman said that while the plant was idled Monday, partial production was expected to resume Tuesday and the whole plant is expected to be up and running again in a few days.

“We plan to resume the rest of our further processing operations later this week,” Sparkman said.

Pine Bluff Fire and Emergency Services Chief Shauwn Howell said Monday that approximately 25 firefighters responded to the incident Sunday night.

“We had five engines and two ladders respond to the call that came into dispatch at 9:10 p.m. [Sunday night],” Howell said. “The scene was cleared between 3:30 a.m. and 4 a.m. Monday morning.”

“There was heavy fire damage to one of the freezers and the surrounding area but no injuries,” Howell said.

Howell said an initial investigation found that maintenance activity was going on at the time of the fire, with indications that some welding was occurring at the time.

“The cause of the fire is still being investigated,” Sparkman said.