HASTINGS, Fla. --St. Johns County firefightersalong with fire rescue crews from Putnam Countyworked to put out a massive fire in Hastings Saturday morning.
The firewas at Middleton Farms, a potato processing plant on East St. Johns Avenue.
SJC Rescue said that the call came in around 3:30 a.m. A 911 caller reported hearing explosions in a building where potatoes are processed.
It took the firefightersabout 3 in-a-half hours to get the fire under control. Some 30 firefighters were on the scene fighting the fire said Fire Chief Carl Shank.
A total of four buildings that were connected collapsed due to the colossal flames.
Farm owner Leighton Middletonsaid helost a lot of inventory. The estimated damage is more than $500,000 he said. Inside the storage buildings were 100,000 potato bags,a sewing machine to close the bags, pallets,and aforklift. One of the buildings was for cool storage that had large air conditioning units.
SJCFRused1 heavy rescue, 4 engines, 1 ladder truck, 1 rescue, and 2 tankers. The Battalion Chiefwas also at the scene along with the Putnam County Fire Department. The PCFD provided 1 tanker to aide in the firefighting effort.
No injuries were reported to anyone at the farm or tofirefighters. The St. Johns County fire chief said firefighters would be at the scene to mop up the fire all day Saturday and possibly into Sunday.
The state Fire Marshall will return to the scene on Monday to determine the cause of the fire because it is too hot for an investigation to take place.
Leighton Middleton, owner of Middleton Farms, said that this has been a devastating week. "Since the super cell that came through Saturday night, we had hail damage to our crops, 15-inches of rain total last week. We had tornado damage, highwind damage at the home farm in Elkton."
Middleton said he has insurance and will rebuild. "Weare still here and we'll survive. That'swhat farmers do."