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Fire hits 1,600-worker Smithfield meatpacking plant

A fire at a Smithfield Foods meatpacking plant in Monmouth has idled about 1,600 workers. The company's brands include Eckrich. | Smithfield Foods

MONMOUTH — A fire at the Smithfield meatpacking plant in Monmouth has temporarily idled about 1,600 workers there.

Monmouth Mayor Rod Davies says the plant manager has told him it’s too early to tell how much the fire will affect operations.

The fire began about 5 p.m. Monday. Monmouth Fire Chief Casey Rexroat says he believes most of the fire and smoke damage was contained to an isolated rendering area. Rexroat says the fire did not harm several thousand head of livestock at the plant about 50 miles northwest of Peoria.

Monmouth City Administrator Lowell Crow says the fire flashed up again Tuesday morning but was quickly extinguished.

The company’s brands of meats include Smithfield, Eckrich, John Morrell and Armour.