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The Sanpete Messenger

Manti pea factory damaged by fire

Fire crews from Manti, Sterling, Gunnison and Ephraim responded to extinguish a fire at the historic Manti pea factory Monday night, a feat that took about an hour.
Manti pea factory damaged by fire

 

Robert Stevens

Managing editor

6/22/2016

 

MANTI—The historic but dilapidated Manti pea factory building caught fire Tuesday night, drawing fire crews from across the county to fight the flames.

The fire was reported around 9:30 p.m. when the neighbors across the street called 911 to report smoke coming from the old structure at about 500 W. 700 North.

Once on the scene, it took fire crews about an hour to fully extinguish the fire. Manti City Fire Chief Kevin Olsen attributes the time required to very limited access to the building interior.

“The place was locked up tight,” Olsen said. “Very secure.”

The firefighters ultimately battered down the doors and also sent the fire ladder up over the top of the building, where they sprayed the fire hoses on the building from above.

Olsen says the cause of the fire is still under investigation by the state fire marshal. Investigators will be trying to discern if someone had been living in the old factory building or if arson may have caused the blaze. Olsen said as far as he knows there is no electrical power to the building.

The emergency response was significant, with fire crews from Manti, Sterling, Gunnison and Ephraim responding.

Olsen said he did not think the fire impacted the structural integrity of the building, and without electricity, the building doesn’t pose a further fire hazard, although it is constructed of wood that has dried up over the 93 years the building has been standing in its present location.

The factory was built in 1924, and was originally used for producing canned peas. Later it became a sewing factory which produced parachutes for the American military during World War II.  The factory was used in some form or another until 1960, at which point its doors were closed for good.