BALTIMORE — Some operations have resumed at the Domino Sugar refinery in Baltimore after an April 20 fire in the facility’s raw sugar storage shed forced operations to temporarily shut down, the company said.
American Sugar Refining, Inc., owner of the Baltimore refinery, said the refinery was online and processing, packaging and shipping sugars that were in process or ready to ship when the refinery shut down on April 20 due to the fire.
“Full operations will be restored as soon as possible,” ASR said.
A vessel loaded with raw sugar was locally available at the Annapolis anchorage and was ready to return to the refinery.
The cause of the fire still was under investigations. Clean-up efforts began April 22 in and around the raw sugar shed where the fire occurred.
“The fire that began in the raw sugar shed was confined to the shed, a free-standing structure, and did not enter or damage the refinery itself,” ASR said. “No injuries occurred, and employees began to return to work on Wednesday (April 21), when full power was restored to the refinery.”
Initial reports indicated the fire had spread into the refinery via a conveyor belt that moves raw sugar, but that apparently was not the case. Firefighters were called around 3:00 Eastern Time on April 20. The shed became fully engulfed and partially collapsed.
The Baltimore refinery is a major supplier of all types of cane sugar to the Northeast, including industrial, retail and foodservice. It’s estimated to produce in excess of 1 million tons of refined sugar annually and is seen as possibly the most critical refinery in the Northeast.
“We are confident that the talent and dedication of the Baltimore refinery’s employees will ensure the refinery will quickly overcome this challenge,” said Luis Fernandez, co-president of ASR Group. “We remain committed to continuing to supply our customers at this time.”
Trade sources indicated orders were being rerouted as needed from other Domino facilities, with some cancellations and delays also noted, but that Domino customers were being covered. Some other companies also were receiving calls about supplying sugar if Domino was unable to fulfill orders.