Fire destroys popular meat packing company in Wrightsville

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WRIGHTSVILLE, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) — A popular meatpacking company in Johnson County is closed.

McAfee Packing Company in Wrightsville caught fire Wednesday afternoon, leaving the owners and employees to figure out what to do next.

“It has heavy fire to the building we will call it a total loss there is a few pieces of equipment in the inside that is salvageable but the structure itself is pretty much totaled,” said Fire Chief Shawn Wombles with the Wrightsville Fire Department.

Wombles believes the fire started from the construction happening on the roof of the building.

Daughter and niece of the owners, Ashlyn Williamson, says business will be greatly impacted, because the company provides meat to Middle Georgia wholesale and retail customers.

Williamson says the company’s employees will also suffer.

“We are one of the largest employers in johnson county,” said Williamson.

Billy Hall has been with the company since 1974, and says he’s more concerned about the McAfee family.

“This is a hard thing for them right now. For them to take the whole loss but really it isn’t a complete loss but like I said every road gotta end somewhere,” said Hall.

According to Williamson, the company has been in the family since the 1950’s. In the ’80s, her father and uncle took over. She says the family has to figure out how to rebuild.

“My uncle and dad are both great. It’s one step at a time, they are going to be fine. They are concerned of course about their employees. A building can be rebuilt, people can not,” said Williamson.

Wombles says out of 60 firefighters battling the blaze, one was taken to Fairview Hospital for heat exhaustion.

Wombles says everyone in the building made it out safely.