Investigators are still trying to figure out what caused a massive fire at a winery in Parlier. The blaze destroyed several processing tanks at O’Neill Winery and Distillery located on Lac Jac Avenue, just north of Manning Aveune. Thankfully, no one was hurt.
Investigators say the fire broke out around 1:30 p.m. A tank containing alcohol suddenly went up in flames. Firefighters used foam, along with water to blanket escaping vapors as other crew members rushed to shut off all the valves on the property to stop more flammable vapors from leaking out.
Not only did the winery workers need to get off the grounds, but more than 400 children next door at Riverview Elementary had to clear the area.
Students reacted just like it was one of their monthly fire drills as they boarded buses and to be dropped off at nearby Reedley High School.
“It’s rewarding to watch everything happen like clockwork like it did today,” said Mary Ann Carouss of the Kings Canyon School District.
Firefighters say great communication with the owners of the winery is what prevented a complete disaster.
“They’ve been very supportive today walking us through the process, bringing out maps and bringing the people that truly know what’s going on. It’s that partnership and how we team up with them that we can do this as safe as we can,” said Capt. Ryan Michaels of Cal Fire - Fresno Co.
It’s unclear whether O’Neill Vintners will now have to shut down for a while or if workers will be able to bypass the section which caught fire and continue with some other operations.
Copyright 2013 cbs47.tv Nexstar Broadcasting, All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.