Evacuation, Shelter-in-Place Orders Lifted After Fire at Salinas Food Processing Plant

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Authorities on Thursday have lifted all evacuation and shelter-in-place orders in an area of Salinas where a four-alarm fire sparked a day earlier at a food processing plant and prompted concerns about a possible explosion and hazardous plume of ammonia, city officials said.

The fire was initially reported at about 7:15 p.m. Wednesday at the Taylor Farms processing facility on Abbott Street and prompted an order early Thursday for evacuations affecting an estimated 2,700 people and a shelter-in-place order affecting an estimated 35,000 people.

As of 2 p.m. Thursday, the orders had been lifted, though residents are still urged to avoid the area, city officials said.

"I very much appreciate the patience of our residents, I recognize the inconvenience during the last 17+ hours, your safety was our number one priority," Mayor Kimbley Craig said. "One big ask I have of our community is that you continue to stay away from the area. It is still very much an active scene."

Taylor Farms also issued a statement as of about 2 p.m. saying the fire had been contained and thanking first responders for their assistance.

According to the company, the facility was closed for the winter season and no production was happening there at the time of the fire.

Early indications are that a welding project sparked a fire in a wall and eventually spread to the attic of the facility, Salinas Fire Chief Michele Vaughn said Wednesday night.

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