Small fire stalls production at Rockingham Perdue processing plant

By: Staff report

ROCKINGHAM — A fire at a processing plant in the early morning hours over the weekend won’t stall production for long, according to officials with Perdue Foods.

The Rockingham Fire Department was called out to the Perdue chicken plant on Long Drive just after 2 a.m. Sunday, but according to Assistant Chief Vernon McKinnon, the small fire was contained to the room of origin and the plant sustained minimum damage, mostly from smoke.

Joe Forsthoffer, a spokesman for Perdue, said the room was in the back half of the plant where chickens are cut up into different parts. He added that the incident happened when the plant was not in operation, although there were some maintenance personnel at the plant.

The exact cause of the fire is still under investigation, Forsthoffer said.

In the meantime, he said the company has been cleaning up smoke damage and replacing damaged equipment on the processing line, bringing in parts from other plants and suppliers.

With other plants pitching in to help meet customer demand, Forsthoffer said the impact to the company will be minimal.

Processing was held off on Monday, but the spokesman said the company hoped to have the plant operational “as quickly as possible” — by late Monday or some time Tuesday.

The Hamlet, Cordova and Northside fire departments responded for mutual aid and Richmond EMS was on standby, McKinnon said. First responders cleared the scene before 6 a.m. Sunday.

Staff report