TAR HEEL, N.C. (WECT) – Over 2,000 people were evacuated from the Smithfield Packing Plant after a beam in the roof structure over a section of the plant separated Monday morning.
According to Bladen County Sheriff Jim McVicker, the sheriff’s office received a call from the company, located at 15855 NC-87 in Tar Heel, at 10 a.m. requesting help with the evacuations. McVicker said no one was injured.
Kathleen Kirkham, Director of Corporate Communications for Smithfield Foods, said employees were sent home as a safety precaution.
“We will mitigate production losses by running additional shifts at nearby plants, and at Tar Heel when it is operation,” Kirkham explained.
According to Kirkham, operations at the facility are expected to partially resume Wednesday and to fully resume Thursday.
Maintenance crews are working to investigate and repair the separated beam Tuesday.
The N.C. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Division is investigating the incident.
On Wednesday, Smithfield Farms stated, “Maintenance crews have now successfully repaired a separated beam in the roof structure over a section of our Tar Heel, N.C., facility. Contrary to many news reports, there was not an ammonia leak or a roof collapse at the facility. Operations are expected to fully resume for second shift [Wednesday].”