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CALDWELL — A structure fire at the Darigold facility, 520 Albany St. in downtown Caldwell, was controlled as of around 5 p.m. Tuesday, according to Caldwell Fire Marshal Alan Perry.

The cause of the fire is under investigation. Initial reports were for flames on the second floor, Perry said. Roughly 80 employees on-site were evacuated.

“There was a report (that) the facility has stored hazardous materials, so that’s always a concern, but there was no report of any type of explosives stored inside the structure,” Perry said.

The fire department pulled the first alarm when it arrived on scene, which means all Caldwell units began responding, Perry said. Within the first 10 to 15 minutes, the fire went to a second and then third alarm. More than 10 fire agencies responded.

Dispatch received the call at 2:33 p.m. and Caldwell Fire arrived on scene at 2:42 p.m.

Parts of the building appeared to have caved in. At least three tower trucks shot water at the structure as smoke billowed up.

Some of the facility’s sides were charred black and water from the hoses spilled off of the building and into the street.

Darigold employees watched the firefighters but were told not to speak to the press. Roads were blocked off in the area leading to the factory.

The building is from the 1930s, Perry said. The inside is primarily wood or combustible and the outside is brick, he said.

“The plant itself produces dried milk,” Caldwell Fire Deputy Chief Steve Donahue said. “So there are dust products and also containers and things like that.”

“First, prayers for the safety of the workers and first responders. Second, prayers for a quick recovery and for the displaced workers. Darigold’s plant has been an important employer and source of economic activity in Caldwell for a century,” Rep. Greg Chaney, R-Caldwell, tweeted.

The fire was reported at approximately 2:40 p.m. on Tuesday.

Carolyn Komatsoulis covers Meridian and Ada County. Contact her at 208-465-8107 and follow her on Twitter @CKomatsoulis.

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