Mars plant fire

Waco firefighters put out hot spots on charred trailers that burned during a fire at the loading dock at Mars Chocolate North America plant Tuesday afternoon.

Staff photo — Jerry Larson, file

An electrical malfunction in a refrigeration trailer caused a fire Tuesday at the Mars Chocolate North America plant at 1001 Texas Central Parkway, Waco Fire Marshal Kevin Vranich said Wednesday.

The fire started at about 1 p.m. at the candy plant's loading dock, and strong winds caused flames to spread to five other refrigeration trucks. Vranich said workers were in the process of loading the trucks with products when the fire broke out.

Some of the company's products were lost in the fire, though details on the type and amount of the products lost were not available.

Large black plumes of smoke rose as firefighters arrived at the plant. About 520 employees work at the plant, and on-duty workers safely evacuated the facility during firefighting efforts.

City of Waco spokesman Larry Holze said no injuries were reported during the fire. Vranich said damage was primarily contained to the outside of the facility.

"We do not have a total dollar loss at this time, but it appears to be an accidental fire due to a mechanical failure within a refrigeration trailer," Vranich said.

A Mars spokesperson said in a statement Wednesday the company appreciates the work of local firefighters and their swift action.

"A contained fire occurred at our Waco site on Tuesday afternoon," according to the statement. "All of our associates are safe and have been accounted for. We are working with local authorities to investigate the cause of the fire and greatly appreciate the quick response and support of the local fire department."

Vranich said the investigation remains ongoing.

Kristin Hoppa has been covering public safety and breaking news for the Tribune-Herald since January 2016. She worked in Northwest Missouri covering crime-related issues before her move to Central Texas. She is a University of Kansas graduate.

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