Building in flames at Tyson/River Valley Ingredients plant near Hanceville

A plant employee directs a Garden City Fire Department tanker toward the fire on the back of the River Valley Ingredients plant. (W.C. Mann for The Cullman Tribune)

HANCEVILLE, Ala. – The Tyson Foods/River Valley Ingredients (formerly American Proteins) rendering plant (1170 County Road 508, southwest of Hanceville), suffered damage Friday afternoon from a fire that started in a building on the back of the property close to the Mulberry Fork. Mayor Kenneth Nail, who was at the scene with the Hanceville Fire Department, said that the origin of the fire appeared to involve grease and animal by-products. The Cullman Emergency Management Agency surveyed the scene and reported that the fire did not appear to involve any hazardous materials.

In addition to Hanceville, the call went out for assistance to all 26 fire departments in Cullman County, with special requests for tankers to get water to the site. Crews at the scene requested additional help from multiple departments across Blount, Walker and Winston Counties.

Departments known to have responded on Friday afternoon include Hanceville, Garden City, Cullman, Vinemont/Providence, Berlin, Crane Hill, Good Hope, Joppa, Bethsadia, Cold Springs and Walter. The Hanceville Police Department sent its tank trailer. The Mount High and West Blount departments from Blount County also responded.

Late Friday afternoon, Air Evac Lifeteam was called to the scene to provide air transport for an unspecified emergency.

A source in the fire service said that crews were having trouble combatting the fire and might attempt to contain the blaze and let it burn itself out.

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W.C. Mann