Fire Damages Smithfield Foods Plant In Monmouth
Fire damaged the meat processing plant run by Chinese-owned Smithfield Foods in Monmouth Monday evening. Crews from nine fire departments were called in to fight the fire.
The Smithfield plant is the largest employer in western Illinois, and usually has 1,600 to 1,800 workers on the job at any given time. But Monmouth City Administrator Lowell Crow says that due to the Labor Day holiday, only about a dozen workers were at the plant --- and that all of them made it out safely.
Speaking on the scene of the fire Monday night, Monmouth Mayor Rod Davies told the Monmouth Daily Review Atlas that plant officials told him it was too early to tell how the fire would impact operations at the facility.
The fire at the Smithfield plant also forced the evacuation of the nearby Cloverfield Cold Storage facility, and an apartment complex --- although its residents were allowed to return later last night.
Smithfield Foods is the world’s largest pork producer, and sells meat products under several brands besides Smithfield, including Nathan’s, Eckrich and Armour.
The Smithfield plant in Monmouth was built in 1964, and operated under several names before its purchase by Smithfield Foods in 2003.
The company provided almost a ton of bacon to the 2nd annual Baconfest held in Monmouth in August, according to the Review Atlas.