Fire damages Family Brands International meat packing plant in Lenoir City

(Photo: WATE)

LENOIR CITY, Tenn. (WATE) – Crews responded to a business fire in Loudon County Wednesday morning.

The fire happened at Family Brands International at 1001 Elm Hill/City Park Road around 7 a.m.

Smoke was discovered by maintenance crews. The fire was contained between the interior of the ceiling and the roof line of the building. Crews were not able to put out the fire internally, so they moved to the outside of the building.

Firefighters do not know the cause of the fire.

Don White, the Lenoir City Public Safety Director, says the fire was hard to fight from inside the building.

“They realized it had spread rapidly throughout the center section of the main plant,” said White. “They were unable to extinguish the fire internally so they had to move to the outside of the building and start fighting from the exterior.”

John Edd Wampler, General Manager of Family Brands International LLC, says no one was injured.

“Our first concern, obviously this morning, was our employees,” said Wampler. “We do fire drills all the time where we practice an evacuation and everyone knows exactly where to go and they have a head count by department and every person got out of the building safely.”

Wampler says the fire started in the smokehouse where Elm Hill hot dogs and Frosty Morn Bologna are made. The other building, where Cades Cove BBQ and Houser’s chili are produced, was undamaged.

“We have a lot of product in stock, so, we’ll be able to fill orders for a short period of time,” said Wampler. “We have reached out to some other plants that make products similar to ours to see if we can get them to use our recipe temporarily to make some product for us until we get going.”

It is unclear how long it will take to repair the building.

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