Reedley chemical company begins clean up after fire causes $2 million in damage

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Fortunately, no chemicals caught fire at Gar Tootelian in Reedley. Crews doused off burned equipment inside a shop area which was destroyed by the fire. (KFSN)

An ag chemical company which has served the Valley for almost 60 years is cleaning up after a massive fire on Sunday.

Fortunately, no chemicals caught fire at Gar Tootelian in Reedley. Crews doused off burned equipment inside a shop area which was destroyed by the fire.

Among the smoldering remains were charred forklifts and a delivery truck. The roof also caved in under the intense heat.

"The biggest thing for us was it was on a Sunday," marketing director Ralph Rendon said. "No one was here working, so there were no injuries. The other important thing was that it was contained to our shop area. No chemicals were burned or involved in the fire."

Crews quickly responded to the four-alarm fire to keep it from spreading beyond a 20,000 square foot structure. The fire caused an estimated $2 million damage.

Firefighters tapped into a large water tank on site to help douse the flames

"We have an office on that side, a scale house office within that part of the warehouse that we actually closed right now," Rendon said. "There was some smoke damage in there."

Gar Tootelian produces fertilizer material for Valley farmers. It's served the Valley since 1949. All of the hazardous chemicals at the plant were stored about 200 yards from where the fire broke out.

"It's really scary when you see your family company going up in smoke like that," Rendon said.

He figures it will take up to six months to replace the shop area. Work has been moved to other areas of the plant.

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