Massive flames and a dark cloud of black smoke filled the sky above the Advanced Food Products factory in Visalia Thursday night. By Friday morning, fire crews were still on the scene-using ladders to attack several hot spots.
Firefighters say the blaze was so large-they had to shore up the building using wooden panels, before it was safe enough to go inside.
Mark Nelson said, "As they're moving things flare ups occur and so again we gotta take a slow process."
The fire broke out in the maintenance area of the factory. Neighbors watched as 60 firefighters from four south Valley agencies, doused the flames using as many as five different hoses.
Gabriel Sosaya said, "I couldn't come in where I usually park because the fire hoses were all across the road."
José Rocha said, "A lot of smoke. The smoke covered all the way through to the save mart parking lot, Mary's vineyard over there, everything was covered it looked like a foggy day."
Fire officials tell Action News despite the damage-they managed to keep the fire contained to just one-eighth of the 150-thousand square foot building.
Advanced Food Products produces a variety of products including, soups, cheeses and puddings. 25 employees were inside when the fire broke out. Fortunately, they all made it out safely.
Fire officials tell Action News a total of 103 employees work here-and they hope to get them back to work by early next week. "You know, this is a pretty terrific loss for them, being down and the loss of revenue, so we want to get them up and running as soon as we can."