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Fire stops production at iconic Manitoba company

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Production has ground to a halt at an iconic Manitoba company.

Bothwell Cheese had a major fire over the weekend, and production has stopped as the company assesses the damage and begins to clean up.

The fire broke out Saturday morning at the company’s facility in New Bothwell, Man. in an area that focused on filtration rather than cheese making.

“It was an electrical panel that actually caught fire and talking to the fire chief, and he was saying that it actually had gone into the ceiling a bit,” said Jim Funk, reeve of the RM of Hanover.

Crews from the Hanover Fire Department arrived on scene quickly, and contained the flames to the area.

“We think that helped us save the plant,” said Mike Langdon, vice president of corporate and cooperative affairs with Gay Lea Foods.

As a result, the company believes the production shutdown will last weeks instead of months, although an exact timeline for reopening has yet to be determined.

What they have determined is that the workers will not suffer financially in the meantime.

“What the cooperative has decided to do is pay them, to keep them whole through this period of disruption. We think it’s the right thing to do,” Langdon said.

Even though production is currently shut down, customers don’t need to worry about going without their favourite Bothwell Cheese any time soon.

The warehouse and distribution centre were not affected by the fire, and company officials say they have a significant amount of inventory, so cheese will remain on store shelves.

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