Tyson Foods has reopened a facility in Storm Lake after a fire saw it closed for eight months

Tyson Foods has reopened a facility in Storm Lake after a fire saw it closed for eight months

Tyson Foods has announced the re-opening of its turkey processing plant in Storm Lake, Iowa, after a fire saw it idled for eight months.

The plant, which became part of Tyson in August this year following the Hillshire Brands acquisition, was "severely damaged" in March by a fire that began in the dark meat room.

"Thankfully, there were no injuries in the fire, but damage to the plant was extensive and portions required major renovations before it could safely operate," said Ray Team, a spokesperson for the Storm Lake plant.

Speaking to just-food today, a spokesperson from Hillshire said the company worked with numerous turkey processors to handle its volume in the interim.

"This allowed us to continue to supply our brands like Jimmy Dean, Ball Park and Hillshire Farm with turkey for their products."

Local press has reported the cost of the damage was in the region of US$30m. The Hillshire spokesperson however said no financial figures related to the damage have been released.

The plant is now partially open for business with the white meat turkey processing area up and running. The dark meat operations are expected to resume in January.

Show the press release

SPRINGDALE, Ark. Dec. 4, 2014 – Officials from Tyson Foods, Inc. thanked Storm Lake community leaders Thursday for their support of the company’s turkey processing plant in the aftermath of a fire earlier this year that idled the facility for eight months.  


During an event at the plant, Tyson Foods’ Ray Team, who oversees the company’s Storm Lake turkey operations, expressed his appreciation to the community and presented a check for $5,400 to the Storm Lake Fire Department to purchase equipment. Mayor Jon Kruse also spoke. In addition, community leaders were given a brief tour of the remodeled facility, which resumed production in late November. 

The turkey plant was severely damaged in March by fire that accidentally started in the dark meat room.

“Thankfully, there were no injuries in the fire, but damage to the plant was extensive and portions required major renovations before it could safely operate,” Team said. “Storm Lake first responders did a great job helping us the day of the fire and we’re grateful for their efforts. We also received an outpouring of support and offers of help from others in the community.” 

The turkey plant became part of Tyson Foods in late August when The Hillshire Brands Company was acquired by Tyson Foods. Tyson also owns and operates a pork plant in Storm Lake. 

“Tyson Fresh Meats has been a part of the community for a long time,” said Noel White, president of poultry for Tyson Foods. “We’re glad to have more people from Storm Lake on the Tyson Foods team.”  

After the fire, management announced that all Storm Lake employees would continue to be paid and receive medical benefits as the plant was being rebuilt. Many employees were involved in clean-up and rebuilding efforts. In September, Tyson Foods launched an exercise program in conjunction with local healthcare organizations to ensure employees would be physically ready to return to work.

After more than six months of rebuilding, the plant is now partially open for business. Currently, the turkey plant’s white meat turkey processing area is up and running. The dark meat operations are expected to resume in January.

Tyson Foods’ Storm Lake turkey facility will employ approximately 700 people when it returns to full production. The company’s pork processing plant in Storm Lake employs more than 1,900 people.  

Original source: Tyson Foods