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Fire at Valley Proteins plant causes $3.5 million in damages

No injuries or deaths after fire, which started in the electrical service area of a product processing room on August 6.

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A Valley Proteins poultry rendering plant in Linkwood, Maryland, suffered US$3.5 million in damage from a fire on August 6.

According to reports, a fire was discovered at the facility by employees on the evening of August 6. The fire began in the electrical service area of a product processing room, the Office of the State Fire Marshal said. The two-alarm fire took 50 firefighters 90 minutes to control. Cause of the fire is under investigation. There were no injuries or deaths.

“We deeply regret that this incident occurred,” said Jillian Fleming, director of global communications for Valley Proteins parent company, Darling Ingredients. “Our top priority is the safety and well-being of our employees, contractors and the community.”

The press release said no smoke alarms were present and the status of fire alarms and sprinklers is undetermined.

Damages to the 200-by-250-foot building are estimated at US$2.5 million, plus US$1 million for the contents of the building.

Previous issues at this location

Valley Proteins’ facility in Linkwood has been in the news several times in the past for other issues.

In December 2021, the facility suspended operations in response to an inspection report from the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) that listed numerous needed corrections.

In February 2022, the MDE and Maryland Attorney General filed a court complaint against Valley Proteins for violations of the state’s environmental laws and regulations. The complaint, filed in the Circuit Court for Dorchester County, sought preliminary and permanent injunctive relief and civil penalties for the alleged violations by the poultry rendering facility in Linkwood. According to a press release from the MDE, in required discharge monitoring reports from April 2019 through October 2021, Valley Proteins reported 40 effluent violations over a period of 598 days.

In February 2023, environmental groups filed a legal challenge after the MDE issued a wastewater discharge permit Valley Proteins. The MDE issued the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit to the Valley Proteins location in Linkwood on December 27, 2022, to be effective February 1, 2023, through January 31, 2028.

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