UPDATE: Fire at Zoetis plant west of Charles City caused by electrical wire

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CHARLES CITY, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) -- A $3 million fire at a Charles City animal health plant will not cause any major disruptions in employment or production.

Multiple fire departments battled a fire at the Zoetis plant west of Charles City on Monday, October 23, 2017. (Source: Charles City Police Department)

Elinore White, the corporate spokesperson for Zoetis, said the loss of what she called the "flock house" at the plant presents no other safety concerns to other buildings on the Charles City campus.

"Manufacturing operations will continue to run on a normal production schedule," White said. "We do not expect any impact on the manufacture and supply of vaccines for our customers."

Charles City economic development officials say Zoetis employs 418 people. That makes it the largest employer in Floyd County.

The plant mainly produces poultry vaccines.

White says the building lost in the fire was part of the company's effort to provide their own eggs used to manufacture vaccines.

She says the eggs can easily be replaced through other suppliers.

Several Charles City residents say the impact of the fire has been the number one topic of conversation in the community a day after.

Marge Bartz, one resident, was relieved to hear the multi-million dollar fire won't impact production or jobs.

" A fire that size, of course you would think it would put people out and we didn't know it was just a facility that housed the eggs," she said.

A contractor working nearby, Ryan Chupp, who saw the fire minutes after it started thought about the loss of a brand new building.

"It's kind of a loss it was a new buildking and just went up and I kind of feel sorry for the construction workers who just saw it go up in flames," he said.

City leaders say they stand ready to help the company rebuild or recover in any way. The company spokesperson says those decisions will come later.
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The Iowa State Fire Marshal's Office and Zoetis helped determine the fire was caused by an electrical wire that began arching due to a malfunction.

There were approximately 6,000 chickens in the building at the time of the fire.

A Zoetis representative said the building and its contents were valued at around $3,080,000.
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Crews came back to the scene around 12:30 a.m. to put out hot spots within the structure and stayed on the scene until around 4:15 a.m. on October 24.

The building housed chickens and was built over the last year. It opened officially in March 2017.

No one was at the location when the fire started and the Charles City Fire Department responded with three engines, an aerial, a tanker, and two command vehicles. Other fire departments were called to assist due to the lack of water supply initially.

One firefighter was treated and released at the scene for a minor lower leg injury.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

The CCFD was assisted on the scene by the Charles City Police Department, Floyd County Sheriff’s Office, AMR ambulance, Nora Springs Fire Department, Rudd Fire Department, Rockford Fire Department, Marble Rock Fire Department, Floyd Fire Department, Colwell Fire Department, Nashua Fire Department, Osage Fire Department, Floyd County Search and Rescue, Floyd County EMA, Charles City Water Department, Zoetis Maintenance and Management, Ron Hillegas, and Popp Excavating.
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Every fire department in one county worked to put out a fire at a business in northern Iowa Monday night.

Crews responded to Zoetis on Highway 14, west of Charles City this evening for a large fire. The company makes medicine for animals.

The fire closed Highway 14 west of Charles City for a period of time.

The Floyd County Sheriff's Office said every department in the county was responding.

The Charles City Press reported high winds and poor access to water made fighting the fire more difficult.

We are working to get more details on the fire.


Multiple fire departments battled a fire at the Zoetis plant west of Charles City on Monday, October 23, 2017. (Source: Charles City Police Department)