Staff members at produce facility assess damage from fire

1 year 8 months 13 hours ago Friday, April 01 2022 Apr 1, 2022 April 01, 2022 5:39 PM April 01, 2022 in News - Local

Firefighters worked through the night to contain a fire that broke out Thursday at a produce facility in San Juan.

The staff at Rio Fresh Inc. say hundreds of thousands of warehouse space and structure was damaged from the fire. They’re looking to rebuild once it’s safe.

RELATED: Multiple crews responding to warehouse fire in San Juan

The family owned, farm-packaging shed operating company employs roughly 300 employees and is responsible for packing and shipping produce like leafy greens and vegetables. 

Their top commodity is onion, and thousands were lost in the fire. 

“If I had to guess, anywhere from 50 to 100 hundred truckloads of onions were lost in the fire, you can see them still burning in the distance,” Rio Fresh Inc. staff member Chris Larson said.

The cause of the fire is still unknown.

“Right now we can't operate out of this facility right now,” Larson said. “We've been blessed with some amazing community, fellow farmers, and packers and shippers and warehouses and they have opened their arms to allow us to try and operate out of some of their facilities." 

On Friday, first responders with the city of Pharr were using excavators and backhoes to move piles of onions to be able to cool off dozens of hot spots throughout the warehouse.

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