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Fire at Franconia JBS/MOPAC Rendering Facility

The roof fire of the building on Souder Road is still under investigation, but preliminary findings show it may have been started by a faulty electrical transformer on the roof

Update 7:15 p.m.

Souderton Perseverance Fire Company Battalion Chief Ben Shearer said the fire was contained to the roof of Section A-D side of the building.

"We believe it was an electrical transformer," Shearer said. "We are not sure yet what caused it."

Shearer said the fire was coming from the transformer.

Souderton was dispatched at 4:20 p.m. by Montgomery County 911, Shearer said. He said the fire was called in by maintenance at JBS Packerland/Mopac Rendering Division.

"On arrival, we couldn't fight the fire yet until the electricity was turned off to the building," he said. "With the warm weather and being a holiday weekend, I requested moe companies in the alarm for manpower in the heat."

Souderton, Hatfield and Harleysville fire company tankers were used to extinguish the fire, Shearer said.

It took PECO about 20 minutes to shut off power, he said. 

The fire was brought under control at around 5:30 p.m.

Smoke from the fire was visible from Allentown and Forty Foot roads in Towamencin, and Shearer said smoke was visible from Souderton Borough.

The cause of the fire is being investigated by the office of the Franconia Township Fire Marshal.

Shearer said JBS Packerland representatives estimated damage between $600,000 and $800,000.

He said the fire was contained to the transformer and some ductwork on the roof. The fire did damage some machinery inside.

Employees were evacuated by maintenance, he said. He estimated about 10 employees were in the building during the shift.

There were no injuries.

Shearer said there was no power to the building and was unsure if JBS Packerland would continue its second shift.

A spokeswoman from JBS Packerland had no comment and deferred comment to Margaret McDonald at JBS Packerland's headquarters in Colorado.

Souderton Fire was assisted at the scene by Towamencin Vol. Fire Co., Telford Fire Co., Hatfield Fire Co., Harleysville Fire Co., Souderton EMS, Harleysville EMS, Volunteer Medical Service Corps of Lansdale and North Penn Goodwill Service.

Update 6:23 p.m.: The fire has been placed "under control" according to crews at the scene.

Update 5:52 p.m.: North Penn Goodwill Service and Harleysville Fire companies are also on the scene.

Update 5:41 p.m.: Souderton EMS and Telford Fire company also have responded the the multi-alarm fire. They are now on the scene assisting crews in putting out the blaze.

Witnesses say that smoke is visible from Forty Foot and Allentown roads in Towamencin. Those at the scene describe a burnt odor in the air, as well.

The original story is below:

JBS Packerland/Moyer Packing Company, better known as MOPAC, Rendering facility at Souder and Allentown roads in Souderton is the scene of a fire.

Towamencin Fire Co., North Penn Vol. Fire, and two engines from Hatfield Fire are joined by Franconia Township Police and VMSC of Lansdale as crews responded to the building at 4:20 p.m. Saturday, according to the Montgomery County Department of Public Saftey Report.

Currently, there is smoke pouring from the building's roof, and a Hatfield ladder truck is spraying water.

A Patch reporter is live at the scene. More updates will be provided as they are made available.

resident4 September 03, 2012 at 02:32 AM
Now it probably smells even more pleasant than before.

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