Burlington plant, workers' future uncertain after 8-alarm fire

CREATED Jan 31, 2013

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BURLINGTON - With 300 workers, Echo Lake Foods has been one of Burlington's largest employers.

Photos of the fire and aftermath

Now, its future and the future of its workers remains uncertain after an eight-alarm fire.

With the charred remains of the Burlington-based factory, the company's fate looks faint.

"It's horrifying to think I could have been in there, or my husband," said Tina Juarez, who works at the production facility.

She was not at work Wednesday when the factory caught fire.

"It's a pretty big area," she said. "There's about six machines in one area."

As she watches firefighters douse her place of employment, she worries.

"Now, there's a lot of people without jobs," said Juarez. "A lot."

More than 300 people.

"I worked really hard trying to find a job, then when I had one, now to lose it?  It's really hard," she added.

Burlington officials share similar concerns.

"This is one of the larger employers of the city," said Mayor Bob Miller. "This will affect the city greatly."

Miller promises to work with the company to help them rebuild and re-open as soon as possible, but right now, it's unclear what the future holds.