UPDATE: Firefighters Release Possible Cause of Fire at Ballard's Sausage Plant

By: Rebekah Pewitt; Brad Myers; WSAZ News Staff Email
By: Rebekah Pewitt; Brad Myers; WSAZ News Staff Email
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UPDATE 8/6/14 @ 6:30 p.m.
WAYNE, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Firefighters say they have more insight on what caused the fire that destroyed Ballard's Farm Sausage Plant.

Ceredo Fire Chief Dave Caudill said they think the flames started in a second floor office by a space heater in a power strip.

Firefighters say the fire got out of control so quickly because there was a lack of water. Crews had access to only one fire hydrant, which went dry in the early stages of the fire.

"The fire hydrant worked, but it had an inadequate water supply," Caudil said. Just our truck alone depleted the water out of that hydrant, and there were three other trucks that needed to be hooked up to the water supply."

Crews were at the plant Wednesday, continuing to investigate exactly what happened and what caused the fire.



UPDATE 8/5/14 @ 12 p.m.
WAYNE W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Only a few concrete walls and the Ballard's name on a parking space remain following Monday’s fire at the Ballard's Farm Sausage plant in Wayne County.

Smoke was still rising up from the plant Tuesday morning. Fire crews had to return Monday night to extinguish areas that rekindled from the fire that destroyed the three-generation family business.

Tuesday morning, the USDA, insurance agents, fire inspectors and garbage collectors combed through the charred remains of the plant to see what might have caused the fire and what needs to be removed from the freezers.

The manager at the plant tells WSAZ.com there is still some product in the freezers, which now needs to be discarded for health reasons.

Plant owner David Ballard was not on site while we were there Tuesday morning, but he did tell us Monday that the future of the plant is undecided until a complete investigation had been completed.

Fire crews from at least three counties fought the fire for several hours Monday.

We know the fire started in second floor office, and then spread to three other buildings.

We still don’t know what started the fire.

Thirty-five people worked at the plant.



UPDATE 8/4/14 @ 6:15 p.m.
WAYNE COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A business that's stood in Wayne County for nearly 70 years was destroyed by fire Monday.

The flames broke out about 10 a.m. Monday at Ballard's Farm sausage plant. Employees say they began seeing smoke, and then scrambled to get everyone out of the building.

"I was in my office working and I thought I smelled something burning," Donnetta Johnson said. "I turned around from my cubicle, and my office was full of black smoke."

Johnson has worked at Ballard's her entire life, and is in disbelief that the business is gone.

"It's a very sad day," Johnson said. "This is not the way I wanted my job to end."

Other employees, like Ballard's business manager Ryan Duncan, worry what will happen to the dozens of families that rely on the business.

"I feel sorry for the people," Duncan said. "That's their jobs, that's their livelihood, and some of them have been here a lot longer than me, like 30 years."

Firefighters from all across the area, including as far away as Kentucky, rushed into the help try to put out the flames. It was no simple task considering the massive size of the fire.

"I didn't realize how big it was until I got in front of it," Wayne County resident Scott Chandler says.

Chandler was one of the first people on the scene, and says the first thing he thought of was how badly this fire would impact the community.

"Thoughts began running through my mind about what's everybody going to do for a job now?," Chandler said. "Where are they going to get their income to feed their families, pay their bills and their house payments? It's going to hurt the whole community."

The fire is proof when disaster strikes, the people in this area are more than willing to jump in to help.

"People have their life inside their homes," Wayne County resident Tara Shaffer said. "So, when a fire happens, we all kind of join together."

Shaffer was one of many people who quickly started helping remove valuables from a home that was just feet from the flames. WSAZ.com has learned the owner of the home works at Ballard's, but had just left to go on vacation the day before. But thanks to friends and even strangers, the house and everything inside was saved.

However, the same cannot be said about the future for dozens of Ballard's employees.

"What's going to happen tomorrow?," Shaffer said. "That's a business. That's a place where people work. So, people's paychecks may not be coming at the end of the week, and that's a concern for everybody."



UPDATE 8/4/14 @ 1 p.m.
WAYNE COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) – A fire at Ballard’s Farm Sausage plant in Wayne County is now under control, but still burning.

The fire was reported just after 10:30 a.m. Monday at the plant located on the Right Fork of Wilson Creek.

Fire departments from Wayne, Cabell and Boyd Counties are fighting the fire.

Water to fight the fire continues to be a big issue for crews.

Employees tell WSAZ.com that the fire started in a second floor office. One employee tried to put the fire out with an extinguisher. In fact, they thought the fire was out, but it was not out.

The fire eventually spread to three other buildings.

Crews were forced to spray water on neighboring homes to keep the fire from spreading.

There are no injuries in the fire.

35 people work at the plant.

President and CEO, David Ballard says he’s not sure what the future holds for the plant.

The three generation family business opened in 1946.
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Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 8/4/14 @ 12 p.m.
WAYNE COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) – A fire at Ballard’s Farm Sausage plant in Wayne County has now spread to four buildings.

The fire was reported just after 10:30 a.m. Monday at the plant located on the Right Fork of Wilson Creek.

Fire departments from Wayne, Cabell and Boyd Counties are still working to bring the fire under control.

Our crew at the scene says the whole plant is on fire, and firefighters are watering down neighboring homes to keep them from burning.

Water to fight the fire is a big issue for crews.

Employees tell WSAZ.com that the fire started in a second floor office. One employee tried to put the fire out with an extinguisher. In fact, they thought the fire was out, but it was not out.

There are no injuries in the fire.
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Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



ORIGINAL STORY 8/4/14 11:07 a.m.
WAYNE COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) – Multiple fire departments from Wayne and Cabell Counties are responding to a fire at Ballard’s Farm Sausage plant in Wayne County.

The fire was reported just 10:30 a.m. Monday.

Heavy black smoke can be seen coming from one the buildings at the plant located on the Right Fork of Wilson Creek.

Dispatchers said fire was reported coming from an office building at the plant.

No other information is available at this time

We have a crew headed to the scene.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.


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