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Organic Valley Cooperative head vows to keep going after damaging fire

LA FARGE, WI (WTAQ) - The head of the nation’s largest organic food co-op vows to keep going, after a fire damaged two-thirds of its headquarters in southwest Wisconsin.

Authorities are trying to determine what started the blaze at the Organic Valley Cooperative in La Farge.

It broke out late Tuesday afternoon, as employees were about to leave for the day. Nobody was hurt.

CEO George Siemon said the fire was small when it started, but it spread quickly. Workers watched as the co-op’s offices and human resources department burned.

Firefighters from five departments had to open the roof and cut around solar panels to get to the flames. The fire was put out Tuesday evening – when a dinner had been scheduled in the building.

About 400 people work at Organic Valley, and it has over 1,800 members in the U.S. and Canada.

Simeon said a new facility at Cashton could serve as temporary headquarters until it can be seen how much of the La Farge building can be salvaged. He said the co-op has contingency plans.