Emotions were high at an emergency staff meeting held by Initiative Foods CEO, John Ypma after a massive fire destroyed the company building one day prior.
According to their website, Initiative Foods is the largest private baby food provider in North America. It began production in Sanger in 2002.
Teresa Mariscal was one of 120 employees that showed up to the meeting uncertain of what the future held for her and her co-workers.
Like many of the Initiative Foods employees, Mariscal said she left work Friday afternoon not expecting to come back Monday morning with no job.
“Disbelief, sunken feeling in my stomach, this is my second home,” said Mariscal. “We’re all a good tight family here, so, it’s gonna be hard, but I know that we will get through this.”
In was about 2:30 am on July 24 that the Initiative Foods building, located on K and 11th St. in Sanger, caught fire. The flames quickly escalated the blaze to a 6 alarm fire, destroying 80 percent of the inside.
“At the height, we had approximately eleven different agencies out here approximately twenty five pieces of equipment and about seventy five firefighters out here at one time,” said Sanger Fire Department Chief, Greg Tarascou.
Ypma told his employees that the fire destroyed all their manufacturing equipment and all of their product.
“We’re shaken, we’re shocked, we’re tearful,” said Ypma.
He assured his employees that although the fire is a major setback for them, they will rebuild and come back stronger because of it.
“At the end of the day, we’ll be ok, tough times don’t last, tough people do and we’ll figure out a way to keep going,” said Kellen Taylor.
Ypma also told employees he doesn’t currently have answers to what will happen to their jobs, but managers will have another meeting on July 26 to determine where they will begin.
A ‘GoFundMe’ page has been set up to help employees : gofundme.com/2gb36x8