300 workers left without jobs in Burlington: 'It's my life'

CREATED Jan 31, 2013

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BURLINGTON - Workers watched their livelihoods go up in flames at a Burlington food plant.

As crews continue their efforts at the scene, hundreds of employees are left looking for another way to feed their families.

Francisco Martinez has worked at Echo Lake Foods for eight years. He was about to leave for his evening shift Wednesday night when he got the call he couldn't believe.

"Now what do you do?” Martinez asked. “Nothing, I can't do anything now. I can't find anything."

Martinez is one of hundreds of employees now forced to look for work after a whopping eight-alarm blaze ripped through the plant. Tina Juarez works in the production facility where the flames erupted. Thankfully, she wasn't inside when they did.

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

It took anywhere from two-and-a-half to three million gallons of water to knock the fire down, and crews still aren't done hitting the hot spots yet. As the investigation continues into just what happened, workers like Martinez will make it their full-time job…to find another one.

Martinez said he has no other income.

“Yeah, it's my life."