Swickers fire, one year later
IT WAS a lazy Sunday morning in November 2016 when a fire broke out at Swickers Bacon Factory from a light in the boning room.
The fire looked like it was going to have a huge impact on the economy and the pork industry as well as the livelihoods of staff and families in Kingaroy.
The initial outlook was 18months before Swickers would be back to where it was before the fire.
Now, just 12 months later, the final boning room is almost finished and Swickers is back to where it was, with plans to get production up even more.
The Little Butcher in Kingaroy owner Clinton Stretton said his shop opened the day after the fire.
He said he was concerned the new business might not be able to get pork products, however SunPork was able to provide.
"We were fairly busy at the time and it's quite amazing how quick they were on their feet,” he said.
"I don't think there would be too many shops around that wouldn't have something to do with SunPork.”
Pork Queensland representative John Coward said the initial phase of the fire put some significant pressures on producers to get stock to slaughter.
"In the early days it was financially impacting as Swickers recovered and reached full capacity,” he said.
"The fire left the Queensland industry vulnerable.
"Swickers needs to improve that confidence that if they were to have another event it would be much better prepared and have alternatives in place.”
As it happened
At 7.30am, November 6, 2016: Fire services were called to a fire at Swickers Bacon Factory
By 6pm, the exclusion zone was lifted and fire crews remained
At 6.30pm, SunPork hosted a meeting with employees at Kingaroy Town Hall
On the Monday at 1pm, SunPork announced it would resume production by the end of the week
By November 15, 120 workers from the boning room had been relocated to work in Ipswich temporarily
By January 15, the old boning room behind was demolished and SunPork looked at expanding the capacity of the facility and investigated temporary options to get staff back sooner
By June, a temporary boning room was up and running year and all workers were back in Kingaroy
By the end of November, the new boning room should be finished