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Fire at Gar Tootelian ag chemical plant near Reedley causes more than $2M in damage

Part of the Gar Tootelian Inc. tank farm near Reedley, as seen in this 2013 file photo as the company was preparing to replace outdated tanks with new ones. The ag chemical operation was damaged Sunday, Aug. 6, 2017, in a four-alarm commercial fire.
Part of the Gar Tootelian Inc. tank farm near Reedley, as seen in this 2013 file photo as the company was preparing to replace outdated tanks with new ones. The ag chemical operation was damaged Sunday, Aug. 6, 2017, in a four-alarm commercial fire. Fresno Bee Staff Photo

The Gar Tootelian agricultural chemical plant east of Reedley caught fire Sunday, causing more than an estimated $2 million in damage and sending up a plume of smoke that was visible across a wide area.

Fire crews from an array of agencies, including from Fresno County Cal Fire, Tulare County, Reedley and Dinuba, responded to the four-alarm fire near Crawford and South avenues just before noon. More than 100 firefighters were participating in the response.

Cal Fire Capt. Jeremiah Wittwer said crews had contained the fire by early Sunday afternoon, but mop up wasn’t expected to be finished until Sunday evening. He said the fire burned about 25 percent of the 16,000 square-foot complex. Initial reports had put the space estimate at about 20,000 square feet.

Some workers were at the plant when the fire broke out, Wittwer said, but no one was injured. Fire officials were unsure of the cause.

The area is largely rural, but an aerial photograph of the area shows several farming operations and Gar Tootelian’s agricultural chemicals business south of the intersection of Crawford and South avenues.

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