Apr 1, 2022Fire damages Rio Fresh onion warehouse facility
A structure fire caused significant damage to a large portion of key fresh onion packing facilities in south Texas. On March 31, fire struck Rio Fresh Inc.’s San Juan, Texas, warehouse and packing operations.
According to the company, “a massive fire” overtook Rio Fresh’s onion packing facility. Rio Fresh’s employees and family were able to safely evacuate the facility.
Rio Fresh grows, packs and ships a large variety of Texas-grown items including Texas 1015 sweet onions, cabbage, kale, greens and melons.
Because Rio Fresh was in mid-season harvesting onions, its staff is “working with the community to identify continuation plans … with a bountiful crop before us,” according to a release from the Texas International Produce Association (TIPA). The company plans to rebuild.
Rio Fresh’s operations are considered south Texas’ largest fresh onion packing facilities, according to TIPA.
Rio Fresh’s owners shared a statement through the TIPA:
“Our family and team are devastated over our loss, but we remain thankful … We are especially grateful to our employees who showed up to help and support us. They stood by our side and worked tirelessly to help us salvage anything possible to minimize the damage. We would be nowhere without these faithful teammates, and we humbly thank them.”
First responders from throughout the Rio Grande Valley arrived to help contain a fire that “seemed to no end. “Thank you to these brave men and women who put their life on the line to do this critical work,” said Rio Fresh.
“We continually count our blessings and look forward to brighter days and better seasons. Trusting God, we will put one foot in front of the other to rebuild our business – always remembering how much we have to be thankful for. Please pray for our family and employees.”
Rio Fresh is a third-generation family farming operation. It traces its farming history to 1941. In 1970, a group of growers created the company, which farms almost 4,000 acres. Today, members of the Carl and Wilma Schuster family and their spouses own Rio Fresh.