Fire halts turkey processing at Edmonton plant

A fire that halted production at the processing plant handling over 90 per cent of the turkeys raised in Alberta remains under investigation.

Edmonton-based meat processor Lilydale said Tuesday it expects "relatively minor" damage to its facility after a fire that morning in a shed housing compressors for its refrigeration units.

The plant specializes in "retail ready" tray-pack turkey products and whole-body turkey sales, both wet chill and air chill.

Production stopped Tuesday and its resumption Wednesday "is still being determined," the company said in a release Tuesday. The company said it expected shipping operations to resume Tuesday afternoon.

Lilydale’s north Edmonton site on 127th Avenue, which also houses the company’s head offices, employs a total of 350 people, processing fresh and frozen turkey for the retail and food service market.

A Lilydale employee taken to hospital for smoke inhalation earlier Tuesday and was released "shortly thereafter," the company said.

A company spokesperson wasn’t immediately available for comment Thursday. The company’s only other dedicated turkey processing facility is at Abbotsford, B.C.

Lilydale also makes sausage and other products at a separate Edmonton facility, and runs chicken processing plants at Calgary, Wynyard, Sask. and Port Coquitlam, B.C.

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