Displaced employees of Sanger plant fire got new hope at a job fair

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Wednesday, the sadness, and uncertainty turned into smiles and hope as displaced employees of the Initiative Foods plant in Sanger met with a number of employers at a job fair. (KFSN)

It's been four days since a massive fire tore through the Initiative Foods plant in Sanger. Wednesday, the sadness, and uncertainty turned into smiles and hope as displaced employees met with a number of employers at a job fair.

Kellan Taylor was a thriving employee at Initiative Foods, but Sunday, when the fire broke out, the husband and father of three was lost.

"It was, just, a feeling of uncertainty. Not knowing where we're gonna go next. We were in a great situation and then, you know, with this tragedy, kind of took a step back a little bit."

Hector Quintero is in the same boat.

"Being young, having that many kids, it's hard. You know, waking up, going to work. That's what you live for."

On Wednesday, all of those emotions seemed to change as dozens of employers and staffing agencies lined up-- ready to hire.

"We needed to reach out and help what we feel is a community of companies that need to pull together in this type of crisis," said Ernie Garcia, Wawona.

"There's so many other companies that are here and we all just wanna, if we can help and get the employees here, that's what we wanna do-- yeah," said Kim Burright, FreshKO Produce Services.

For the team at Initiative Foods, it was overwhelming, and for some, therapeutic.

"Having all these people here, coming over, telling us there's an opportunity for everybody, having doors open for us-- it's a big blessing," said Maria Guzman, displaced employee.

"It's been really good, really good. I really thank everyone for coming out here. Hopefully, something will land," said Steven Hernandez, displaced employee.

Some have interviews lined up, others are weighing their options. Either way, there's light at the end of the tunnel.

"To come out and see all this today, it's definitely-- it gives you a good feeling that things, will be ok," said Taylor.

"It lifted my spirit, it gave me more faith to believe that there's still tomorrow," said Quintero.

Many of the maintenance workers weren't at the job fair Wednesday. They were here at the plant, helping with the cleanup stage, something that could take up to two months.

As far as rebuilding the plant, that could take up to a year.
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