Chesterfield County Fire and EMS responded to an explosion at Fiorucci Foods’ processing plant near Ruffin Mill Road early Friday morning. About 50 firefighters, including six engines and three ladder trucks with supervisors and medics responded to a call at 5:41 a.m.
The Fiorucci brand makes Italian lunch meats like Coppa, Salami and Prosciutto.
The explosion occurred inside a compressor for one of the facility’s boilers. Shifts were already at work during the incident, but no injuries were recorded. The boiler room is made with blast doors to protect against an incident of this kind.
“These blast doors are made with a purpose for these situations so that if anything does happen, these will open up and the force will go upward, as opposed to outward,” said Lt. Jason Elmore of Chesterfield County Fire and EMS.
Damage was limited to the blast doors and the boiler itself.
“They’re going to have to repair that area in there to get that part of the process back open,” Elmore said. “They were working today on utilizing some of their other coolers and refrigerants to get as much accomplished as possible.”
Chesterfield County crews spent the morning clearing the factory of smoke before staff could be let back in. The building was returned to the occupant around lunchtime.
“The one good thing is these blast doors operated so there could have been more damage,” Elmore said. “The force would have been outward instead of upward. Also, the sprinkler system activated and contained the fire that was in the boiler room … That’s what they’re designed to do and that’s what happened.”
The Department of Agriculture will have to be consulted for safety and cleanliness before the area can reopen. Elmore said he expects the facility to be closed for “at least a 24 hour period, if not longer.”