Uncertainty looms in Sanger after massive fire destroys Initiative Foods building

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"Initiative Foods is not a building. It's a group of people working together and we are going to rebound from this and be stronger for it." (KFSN)

Initiative Foods employs about a hundred people in Sanger.

The owner and management team will meet with employees Monday morning to discuss the future after a massive fire destroyed the company facility.

Just last year, Action News featured initiative foods in our Made in the Valley segment.

"One of the things that really makes us unique is we start with fresh," company president and CEO John Ypma said last year. "We don't start with a puree, rather we bring in apples and sweet potatoes and carrots here in the valley and we process them directly into baby food."

Now, the company, that once made more than 300,000 jars and pouches a day is facing the aftermath of a massive fire that's brought production to a screeching halt.

"It is a tough tragedy, obviously. But all we can do is take it one day at a time and go from here," Ypma said.

Ypma is also the production manager and safety coordinator at the plant.

"We're optimistic," he said. "We have a great organization. Initiative Foods is not a building. It's a group of people working together and we are going to rebound from this and be stronger for it."

He's thankful no one was hurt and that their employees and the surrounding community have been so helpful.

"Many have volunteered to come out and check in on us for some moral support," Ypma said. "We're eternally grateful for that."

Just yards away from all the action is Sequoia Chevrolet. At first, they were concerned that the fire might jump to their building, but now they're more focused on showing their support and doing whatever they can do.

"We decided, once they let us in, that we'd open the doors and let people use our restrooms and let the fire and police make themselves at home because we want to do everything we can for our community," Bernie Hinson with the dealership said.

A couple blocks away, Faith-2-Faith Church even spoke about it at this morning's service - proving that even through adversity, a city and its people can come together as one.

"That's really what Sanger's all about. The fabric of this community is so engrained," Sanger Fire Chief Greg Tarascou said. "The community support, it's been really helpful."

"Sanger is a resilient place," Ypma said. "It's a great place to do business and we're going to keep going."
Related Topics:
newsbuilding firebusinessfresno countySanger
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