x
Breaking News
More () »

Assessing the Damage from Cheese Factory Fire

SUNBURY — One day after a large fire at a cheese factory in Sunbury, owners are trying to figure out what to do next. Sunbury code enforcement officers pu...

SUNBURY -- One day after a large fire at a cheese factory in Sunbury, owners are trying to figure out what to do next.

Sunbury code enforcement officers put up "danger" signs all around Sun-Re Cheese Corporation on Lenker Avenue. Over the weekend, fire caused major damage to the part of the building where all of the cheese is made. The plant was closed at the time.

"It's kind of surreal. We're just trying to assess it and figure out what we're going to do from here. Nobody really knows yet," Kevin Hill said.

Sun-Re Cheese Corporation employs around 50 people. Employees like Kevin Hill rushed to the scene to make sure everyone was okay. Once Hill realized everyone was safe, other thoughts started to sink in.

"There's a lot of people who are going to be hard-pressed to make a living this winter," Hill said.

"What to do, there's like so many questions to ask. How am I going to make money? I have my family to feed. It's just heartbreaking," Jaime Pehowic said.

The day after the fire, some employees gathered at the factory.

"As soon as I hit 18, I started here so this is like the only real big job I had my whole life, so it's depressing to not have nothing to come to," Pehowic said.

Right now the owners say they are waiting to hear from their insurance company before determining the next step. In the meantime, Sun-Re Cheese is turning to other cheese companies for help.

"We have to call people we work in the business with to basically support our customer base to buy the cheese," Paul Aiello said.

The owners say they produce several tons of cheese out of this factory each week and shipped it all over the world.

"It was a big business, but right now we're dealing with this," Aiello said.

The owners are optimistic that they can rebuild.

"We will make cheese again. It's what our family does," Aiello said.

A state police fire marshal ruled the fire an accident on Tuesday, saying it was started by an exhaust fan.