First responders had to maneuver through a canal filled with melted butter after a fire at a dairy plant in south-central Wisconsin, local fire officials said.
The fire occurred at the Associated Milk Producers Inc. plant in Portage, Wisc. on Monday evening, a city approximately 100 miles northwest of Milwaukee.
AMPI owns several cheese and butter manufacturing plants where about 10% of the American-type cheese and butter in the U.S. is produced, according to the company. Though no cheese was involved in this fire, plenty of butter was.
Firefighters reported heavy smoke and fire from the roof of the plant, with access to the structure being slowed by both heavy smoke and the runoff of melted butter.
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According to local officials, firefighters remained on the scene for approximately six hours before extinguishing the blaze, battling with moving through melted butter that was up to three inches thick in some areas.
“When we first tried to go up the stairs to that part that collapsed, this stuff, the butter was running down like 3 inches thick on the steps so our guys were up to their knees trying to go up the steps to get to the top and they’re trying to drag the hose line, the hose line got so full of butter they couldn’t hang onto it anymore,” said Portage Fire Chief Troy Haase.
No injuries were reported in the fire and the cause remains under investigation by local officials, according to NBC Madison affiliate WMTV.
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WMTV also reported that there were 30 employees in AMPI’s Portage plant at the time of the fire, but they were also all able to exit the building safely.