Tyson: Fire at plant near Holcomb likely spread from welding spark during maintenance

(Source: Adam Shrimplin)
(Source: Adam Shrimplin)(KWCH)
Published: Aug. 14, 2019 at 3:22 PM CDT
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Update 4:45 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2019

The president of Tyson's Fresh Meats Division says a spark from welding during maintenance likely caused the fire that heavily damaged the company's plant near Holcomb in Finney County.

At a Wednesday afternoon briefing with state and local officials, the company reaffirmed its commitment to rebuild. The company say it is working to get the plant up and running again "as quickly as possible."

The square footage of the damaged area is small compared to the entire plant, but Tyson says the fire impacted critical operating systems.

Tyson says structural work can begin immediately, but other repairs, particularly electrical, will likely take more time. The company says it's completing a full assessment of the plant with electrical and structural engineers on site.

The company thanked firefighters for their quick response to the Aug. 9 fire. No employees were hurt.


Tyson Foods hosted a brief gathering with local and state officials Wednesday afternoon following a fire that heavily damaged its beef plant in Holcomb, Kansas.

The company's president and CEO, Noel White, Kansas Governor Laura Kelly and President of Tyson Fresh Meats, Steve Stouffer delivered remarks at the event.

The fire broke out at the Tyson Fresh Meats plant near Holcomb Friday night. Crews were able to finally put out the fire late Saturday afternoon.

The company said the plant sustained major damage in the fire, but all full-time active employees were guaranteed pay despite the devastating situation.

Tyson Foods operates six plants in Kansas and employs more than 5,600 people. The company says its total economic impact in the state is more than $2.4 billion.