TYLER, Texas — Not much to be thankful for here.
A fire and massive explosion at a smoked turkey production facility in Texas incinerated 87,000 of the birds just ahead of Thanksgiving, officials said.
Investigators are trying to determine what caused the disaster at the Greenberg Smoked Turkeys Inc. facility in Tyler in the early morning hours on Friday that rattled homes all around the city. Fortunately, no one was hurt.
The company typically sells 200,000 turkeys for Thanksgiving, but says it will be unable to ship any this year due to the destruction at the plant. In 2003, the company’s turkeys landed on Oprah Winfrey’s “Favorite Things” list.
“Both our inventory and our ability to ship this season have been destroyed,” owner Sam Greenberg wrote on the company’s Facebook page. “We are thankful this occurred after hours and no one was injured!”
He said the blaze was caused by a mechanical failure in one of the company facilities and caused a freezer holding the 87,000 turkeys to explode. It also burned boxes and bags nearby, which are used to ship hundreds of thousands of turkeys during the company’s busiest season.
Paul Findley, Tyler’s fire marshal told the Dallas Morning News that the heaviest damage was inside a large freezer, which he described as “not just walk-in freezers; they’re drive-in freezers.” He said the room was stacked, front to back, almost to the ceiling, with smoked turkeys in boxes.
Greenberg said while the fire would set the company back, it would not knock them out of business.
“We will rebuild. We will be smoking turkeys in 2021,” he said. “And to hell with 2020.”