Fire destroys Rutland slaughterhouse

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(Host) Fire destroyed a large Rutland slaughterhouse today.

Rutland city Deputy Fire Chief Fran Robillard says the fire at the Fresh Farm Beef Slaughterhouse was caused by a short in a winch motor.

He says the building’s wood frame roof and cement block walls made it difficult to extinguish the fire.

(Robillard) “It was like fighting a fire in an oven, a brick oven. The building had a very limited number of openings which restricted our ability to get water into the building.”

(Host) Robillard says the building was far away from the nearest hydrant and firefighters had to run nearly a mile of hose to get water to the blaze.

The slaughterhouse was the largest in Vermont.

Carl Cushing is the state’s Director for Food Safety and Consumer Protection.

Cushing says the loss of the facility will put a strain on Vermont’s limited capacity to process meat.

(Cushing) “This facility was doing approximately 600 to 630 animals a month. There were at least two co-ops that were getting some work done there that involved approximately 85 farmers, so yes, it hurts.”

(Host) Cushing says Rutland area livestock farmers will have to take their animals to other Vermont slaughterhouses or send them out of state.

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