Fire in Australia on October 15 2020 07:54 AM (UTC).
A large fire has caused millions of dollars in damage at a vegetable farm north of Adelaide. The blaze, which started about 9:30pm on Wednesday at Lewiston, destroyed a packing shed and equipment worth hundreds of thousands of dollars at Rainbow Fresh. About 80 emergency service personnel prevented the fire from spreading to other nearby structures, including offices and workshops with heavy machinery. The total damage bill is estimated to be around $2.5 million. Rainbow Fresh managing director, Maria Colangelo, said she is in shock and is working out how to get stock on the shelves in coming days. "It was just overwhelming ... I can't explain it, it's just devastating. I don't know [how to feel] at the moment, I think it's just shock, and the not knowing what to do," she said. "This is a family business that started with my parents over 50 years ago and we've been working very hard to bring a product out there and get a name and a brand that's recognised, right now it's just devastating." She says the company supplies supermarkets across SA and the NT, and while they have supply for today and tomorrow, she does not know how they will get stock on the shelves after that. "I can't explain it ... not knowing what to do." No produce damaged in fire. Ms Colangelo said no fresh produce was burnt, but packing machinery and supplies have been destroyed. "We normally carry enough stock for at least three months' worth, until Christmas. The biggest cost for us, the biggest issue is the machinery, you can't just pack by hand," she said. "It's extremely heartbreaking, we're just grateful that no-one's been injured." One of the companies growers, Nith Roath, was on scene before fire crews. He said he got a call from his boss after a neighbour reported the fire, and went to investigate. "I ran to the fire hose and tried to hose it down but the fire went so quick, and it was in ten minutes the shed just started to collapse down, probably about five minutes after that the fire brigade was here," he said. "I was panicking but straight away I ran to the hose, tried to put the fire down with my little hose but the fire was too big, it was moving too fast." ive decades of work up in flames. Business founder, Joe Giangregorio, who started the company more than 50 years ago, said he is devastated. "It's very sad, nobody wants to accept it but we've got to accept it, the main thing is the health is alright and everything can be fixed," he said. "Fifty years of work, it's very sad." "The competition help us out to put the product on the shelves." The company said it will have conversations today about where it can pack the produce. Despite being competition, other local factories are likely to lend a hand. "As soon as something like this happens, everybody pulls together and try to help each other," quality assurance manager Michelle Vidau said. "We'll all pull together and make a great team working with other packers in the area."