TEACHEY, Duplin County - Following a fire in February that destroyed much of its chicken processing plant in Wallace, the House of Raeford Farms announced on Friday it had selected a general contractor in its plans to build a new facility to replace the one that was severely damaged.
House of Raeford is partnering with South Carolina-based Fitts & Goodwin to build a new processing plant. The building is expected to be finished by next summer.
More than 20 fire departments worked to put out the fire on Feb. 25, which started in the facility's de-boning room and spread through much of the facility before it could be extinguished the next day.
The company put some of the 650 workers from the processing facility to work at its Rose Hill facility in March and initially continued to pay the entire staff following the fire and Teachey facility's closure. Company spokesperson Anna-Marshall Wilson said al of the employees who wanted to continue to work for House of Raeford were transferred to the Rose Hill plant in the two-and-a-half months following the fire.
Wilson said all employees were paid during that time.
Additionally, Wilson said, the Rose Hill facility ramped up production to make up for the loss of the Teachey plant so as to keep up with the additional input of chickens that would have normally gone to the Teachey plant.