MATTOON -- A Mars Petcare spokeswoman on Monday said the fire that started in the Mattoon location over the weekend originated in a machine that grinds corn and other materials.
Interim Chief Kris Phipps of the Mattoon Fire Department said firefighters were dispatched at 9:11 p.m. to a report of a grinder overheating and catching the pet food material within it on fire at the factory, 6565 E. County Road 1000N.
Phipps said the burning was difficult for firefighters to reach because it is located on the second floor and is only reachable via a catwalk, but they were able to run a water hose to this equipment and extinguish the fire. He said they ventilated the smoke out of the building.
A Charleston Fire Department rapid intervention team was called to the scene to provide backup if needed because the call involved a structure fire, Phipps said. All firefighters cleared the scene by 10:55 p.m., he said.
Mars Petcare spokeswoman Jennifer Rader said the equipment in which the fire occurred is used to grind corn, rice and wheat. She said the grinder was closed overnight for assessment and then was able to get back in operation by the following morning.