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Fire creates glut of eggs


BURLINGTON (WSAU)  Shoppers may have noticed that a dozen eggs are cheaper, after last week’s fire that destroyed production facilities at the Echo Lake egg processing plant in Burlington. Plant general manager Jerry Warntjes said the fire created a glut of eggs on the national market – because the firm has stopped buying 2-million eggs a day from producers mainly in Wisconsin, Iowa, and Illinois.

Warntjes spoke to a number of the plant’s 300 employees yesterday, at meetings where they received information on things like living assistance and finding new jobs. The Echo Lake official said dozens of workers have been transferred to a nearby plant at Yorkville in Racine County. He said the Burlington plant could resume limited production in a few weeks as it rebuilds. Warntjes said the company wants as many employees back as possible, but they shouldn’t be without jobs. He said they should take other work now. A job fair has been set up for next week, and 21 employers have agreed to take part so far.

The Echo Lake plant employs a high percentage of Hispanics, and Warntjes said up to half don’t speak English very well – and that causes special problems for them. The general manager said he believes the fire was caused by a problem in a boiler which heats oil for ovens. State and local authorities are still investigating.