Large fire causes heavy damage at a citrus packinghouse near Woodlake

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Fire investigators in the South Valley are looking for the cause of a late night fire at a Tulare County packing shed. The fire was still smoldering late Wednesday morning and some new orange bin boxes have already been brought in to replace the ones that burned.

The fire started around 8:30 p.m. Tuesday. Employees of the Golden State Citrus Packing Shed were the ones who first noticed the fire in a warehouse storage building next to the main building with all the packing equipment. Large flames were seen coming from the building and firefighters say it got so hot they had to really keep their distance. Dozens of employees here had to be evacuated from the area as the fire burned for several hours into the night. In this case, crews say the wind actually helped the fire from spreading.

"The intense radiant heat was a big factor and we were fortunate enough that the wind was in our favor and kept it away from the exposures," said Anthony Perez, Woodlake Fire District.

No oranges were damaged but nearly a million cardboard orange bins were burned along with 2,000 wooden pallets. The damage will likely cost the company about a million dollars.
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