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Grease Fire Caused Damage At Perdue Plant

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Grease Fire Caused Damage At Perdue Plant

Workers at Monterey’s Perdue Plant are returning to work Monday after a fire at the facility Saturday.

Monterey Fire Chief Kevin Peters said the fire was contained to the east wing of the building. Peters said the roofing and air vents received the most damage from the fire with no major damage to the machinery.

“When we got to the scene, at the east side of the building they were in production, and they were running chicken products through a fryer,” Peters said. “The grease had caught on fire, and it was something like a chimney fire in a house.”

Peters spoke with the plant’s executives Sunday. He said the USDA evaluated the damage and approved resuming production. Peters said the unit that caught on fire was from 1989 and was due for maintenance, but COVID delayed the time frame.

“They are coming up with a maintenance plan,” Peters said. “And some safety precautions for all their plants from this fire to prevent this from happening again.”

Peters said the city received the call around 4:00 p.m..

“My assistant chief actually works at Perdue, and he was there as part of his shift,” Peters said. “He called me while I was in route and told me that they did have an active fire. So upon of getting that information, I went ahead and paged for mutual aid from Putnam County, from the city of Cookeville to bring a ladder truck and a ladder truck from the city of Crossville.”

Ultimately, crews from Cookeville, Crossville, Putnam County and Livingston fire departments responded. About 50 fire fighters in total helped fight the fire.

Peters said the department’s plan of action would have been better if he did not have to call other departments for a ladder truck. Monterey’s ladder truck is currently out of commission.

“It is out of service due to felony inspection. It is a 1972 model,” Peters said. “I brought it up in this past July budget for the city to replace it, and they declined to do that. Hopefully, they will see the need, and Perdue I think is going to help with asking the city to go ahead and purchase a newer ladder truck.”

Peters said no hazardous chemicals were released into the air, which was initially an area of concern. Toxic fumes would have been released if the flames reached the chemicals used for poultry refrigeration process. Peters said the initial shut down of the area was for caution. No injuries occurred during the emergency.


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