Cause of devastating fire at Mr. Chips pickle plant in Pinconning still unknown

Published: Oct. 5, 2020 at 6:41 PM EDT
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Pinconning, Mich. (WJRT) -(10/05/2020)- The smell of smoke still lingers in the air at the site of where a Mid Michigan staple once stood.

Now just charred debris following a massive fire that ripped through the Mr. Chips processing plant in Pinconning over the weekend.

“We have roughly 125,000 square feet of processing. 70,000-75,000 of square feet of it was damaged,”

Firefighters were called to the facility on North Huron on around 3:30 Saturday afternoon at a time when the plant was empty.

Gary Vermeesch-- Vice President of operations for Bay View Foods and Mr. Chips-- says the last fire truck didn’t leave the scene until about 5:30 the next morning.

“They had 7 plus fire departments out here. 65-70 firefighters and there was a lot going on, trying to do the best. Nobody got hurt, that’s the plus side of this. That’s company’s main goal, but yeah, it was intense for a lot of hours,”

M. Chips is of the one largest supplier of pickles to fast food restaurants in the United States-- with hundreds of employees now temporarily off the job.

The family owned business has been part of the community for 60 years-

“Spent so much time with the family over this weekend throughout this and it’s heartbreaking, not just sad, heartbreaking,”

The cause of the fire which started in a processing room--- is under investigation-in the meantime Veremeesh says they will operate as best they can.

“We still have shipping on finished goods products in the warehouse and the manufacturing site. We are going to divert some of our production to our sister plant down in Georgia, so we are working through all of those details right now,”

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