Saluda County plant looks ahead after being devastated by fire

Published: Nov. 25, 2022 at 11:29 AM EST|Updated: Nov. 28, 2022 at 10:53 AM EST
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SALUDA, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) - The owner of a rendering plant in Saluda County is assessing damage after a large fire broke out last week.

County fire officials say crews were called to the scene around 2 p.m. Thursday at 271 Valpro Road.

They say the fire spread so fast, it took at least 60 first responders from other counties to put it out.

“We do not typically see those numbers. This was a large structure fire – commercial structure fire – for us. So we had to bring in some resources to supplement some water, to supplement some manpower,” said Luke Downing, fire service coordinator in Saluda County. “This is one of the bigger fires that I’ve been involved with.”

Authorities say there’s significant damage inside the facility but no one was hurt.

Valley Proteins, LLC provides services for the collection, rendering, and recycling of supermarket waste and animal processing of fat, bone trimmings, and meat. It also provides restaurant-used cooking oil that is used across the country.

The fire was contained to a cooking unit until it began to spread to multiple parts of the facility.

Crews contained the fire around 5:45 p.m. but stayed on the scene to investigate for another 12 hours.

Downing says up to 60 first responders aided in containing the fire. They responded from Laurens, Abbeville, Greenwood, Aiken, Newberry, and Lexington Counties. Along with the South Carolina State Fire Marshal’s Office.

The road leading to the facility was re-opened after the fire departments left the scene.

The plant is expected to be shut down for a while due to the severe damage from the fire.