The fire at TreatCo, one of the nation's largest suppliers of natural dog treats, continues to burn today - and fire investigators aren't sure when they're going to be able to put it out.
The blaze was first reported by someone passing by the plant at 2302 N. Broadway at about 8:15 p.m. on Thursday. The fire prompted three alarms before fire crews were initially able to put it out, officials said.
But another section of the plant erupted in flames shortly after 6:30 a.m. today, Fire Capt. Stuart Bevis said. The second fire started in an area where boxes and packaging material are stored.
"Embers got into that area," Bevis said.
The fire originally started in the pig ear-drying section of the plant. Crews are maintaining a steady water stream on flames, Bevis said, but progress is proving difficult because of the accumulated heat in the concrete structure and the sheer volume of combustible materials.
"It’s just a mess, with this fuel load and the way it's spread out," Bevis said. "It's very difficult to deal with.
"Until that’s dealt with, we can’t get in there to investigate it."
Two people were arrested Thursday night after they shoved a firefighter and police officer in their attempts to enter a burning business, authorities said.
The two people - a 52-year-old man and 54-year-old woman - are co-owners of the company, according to TreatCo's website. They were arrested shortly before 9 p.m. and booked into jail for battery of a law enforcement officer and interfering with firefighters, jail records show.
Police said the plant owner and his sister claimed they wanted to go inside to shut off utilities to the building.
That's a common reaction by owners of homes or businesses that have caught fire, Bevis said.
"They want to do something," Bevis said. "They don’t want to listen to reason."
TreatCo was the subject of an investigation by the Environmental Protection Agency in 2009, though no results of that investigation have been released.
TreatCo produces dog biscuits and cookies, jerky treats and animal body parts like bones and pig ears for pets. The company processes more than 2 million pounds of product monthly from beef byproducts it buys from Kansas and Texas slaughterhouses.
Contributing: Associated Press