Champlain Beef in Whitehall ‘destroyed’ by fire on Saturday

Chronicle Managing Editor Cathy DeDe writes: The Champlain Beef meat processing plant on Route 4 outside of Whitehall was “destroyed,” Washington County Fire Coordinator Glenn Bristol tells The Chronicle, in a June 15 fire.

It started at around 10:15 a.m. and was under control by early afternoon, Mr. Bristol said.

“It’s still under investigation, but we consider it accidental.”

“There were a couple of people working, but it was a Saturday. Apparently they only work, normally, five days a week. Whoever was in there was able to get out.”

One firefighter was transferred to the hospital, with injuries not yet released, Mr. Bristol said.

“I believe there was a couple animals that were killed in the fire, but they did get a large number of animals out.”

A fire of that magnitude, Mr. Bristol said, “It seems a little overwhelming when you look at it, but we know the departments that were there know what they’re doing. They did everything they could. They did a great job.” Whitehall’s Fire Chief was in charge of the effort.

“At least 15 fire departments were involved in [fighting] the fire itself,” Mr. Bristol said. “I wouldn’t even have a clue,” how many personnel were on site. “They were all over.”

He estimates the structure was 40,000 to 50,000 square feet.

Travel on Route 4 in Whitehall was diverted briefly and then slowed for several hours while the fire remained active.

Mr. Bristol said the county has recently been particularly busy with fires. “It just goes in waves,” he said.

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