Smithfield Foods plant set to reopen Friday

From staff reportsJune 19, 2014 

— The Smithfield Foods packaging plant in Tar Heel plans to reopen Friday morning – three days after a 300,000-gallon water tank exploded and caused workers to evacuate.

Employees were set to finish cleaning by the end of the day Thursday, according to Dennis Pittman, the company’s director of communications.

Bladen County replaced the transformers outside the plant, which were knocked off their pedestals by the blast. The company also brought in four generators to keep the temperature inside the plant low until the power grid came back.

When the transformers went out, the temperature rise led to some meat loss, but no one knows how much yet. Pittman said the numbers will come in sometime Friday.

“Everybody will turn their numbers in when they get everything done. It’s a loss, but it’s not going to be a major loss,” he said.

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