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Farm processing building lost to fire

In what fire officials are calling a complete loss, a processing building at Kinsey Farms north of Sunnyside was destroyed in a blaze last night, Wednesday.

Firefighters from Outlook, Sunnyside and Grandview were called to the scene. The city of Granger also assisted.

Bo Thomas is a captain with Fire District #5, and he said the building was already engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived on the scene.

The farm, located at the intersection of Scoon and Independence roads, also had a cold storage facility about 20 feet away from the processing building.

Thomas said fire personnel's approach was defensive upon arrival, realizing the roughly 60,000 square-foot processing building was gone but trying to save neighboring structures.

"We were strictly in a protective mode. It had the potential to be a big mess," Thomas said of the approach fire crews took to making sure no other buildings were lost to flames.

He said crews were called to the scene at 7 p.m. last night and finished mopping up at about 4 a.m. today.

The destroyed building was used to process vegetables. Thomas said the building was also used to store packaging materials.

Though the blaze started in the center of the building, Thomas said there was a large fire load at the south end of the structure. He said that's because that part of the building was being used to hold pine slats for boxes and for dry storage.

The cause of the fire is undetermined and is under investigation, Thomas said. The investigation has been turned over to the fire marshal's office.

In addition, Thomas said it is too soon to tell what the value of the total loss is since investigators are still trying to discern the value of the processing equipment in the building.

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