July 26, 2014

Elyria
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Owners say operations will go on at Green Circle Growers

CAMDEN TWP. — The fire Tuesday night into Wednesday at Green Circle Growers burned five acres of greenhouses, destroying 25 of them and a one-acre production barn.

Despite the damage, however, operations at the facility will go on.

More than 100 firefighters from 12 departments battled the blaze from 5:30 p.m. Tuesday until 6 a.m. Wednesday. Some firefighters remained on the scene Wednesday afternoon as smoke continued to billow from the building.

Camden Township Fire Chief Brian Jackson said extinguishing the blaze was difficult with 35-mph winds and cold, which froze valves on several tanker trucks.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation, but Jackson said the fire did not appear to be suspicious. It originated in an outdoor area used to store materials, according to a press release.

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Green Circle Growers, at U.S. Route 20 and state Route 511, will continue operations as repairs are made.

According to a news release from the company, while the fire caused significant damage, only 5 percent of the growing space was affected. The company owns 105 acres of greenhouse and also fosters relationships with other growing facilities.

“In addition to having alternative production areas in other parts of the facility, we have great relationships with other greenhouses throughout the country if the need arises to have plants grown for us to satisfy our customers’ demands,” said a statement from Scott Giesbrecht, co-owner and vice-president of sales.

The owner’s home, which is on the property, was not damaged, according to Jackson. He added that no one was injured, and cattle on the property escaped safely.

Green Circle Growers, one of the largest greenhouse operations in the Midwest, supplies big box stores and supermarkets such as Home Depot and Walmart.

With more than 600 employees, the company is one of southern Lorain County’s largest employers, according to the release.

The company remained tight-lipped on whether the damages would affect any employees, but Giesbrecht stated that the facilities are strategically built to minimize the impact of such events.

In the company’s statement, Giesbrecht thanked the community for the continuous support.

“We are extremely thankful for the outpouring of support already from individuals and businesses in the surrounding community and across the country. We are also blessed to have a great team at Green Circle that is already working together to ensure any interruption of daily business is kept at a minimum,” he said. “As we work through the next few days, we will keep our customer and industry partners informed of our progress in keeping their business running smoothly.”

Contact Chelsea Miller at 329-7123 or cmiller@chroniclet.com.