ELBA, NY-- Firefighters are battling a large fire at an onion processing and packaging plant in the Town of Elba Thursday morning.
More than a dozen fire companies were called to the Big O onion farm on North Byron Road.
It's unknown at this time how the fire started.
Fire officials say that this facility is a total loss, and will likely have to be torn down. The fire has proven to be difficult for firefighters because of a lack of water in this area.
The flames started around 8 am, no one was inside at the time. This is a locally-owned, family run business that's been here for decades. Fire crews say a hunter in the area saw smoke and called 911. The fire quickly spread.
"A lot of wooden crates, these onions are bulk-moved and they're in large wooden crates, machinery, and then the design of building allowed for the fire to move from one section to another," said Tim Yaeger, the Genesee County fire coordinator.
Fire departments from four counties responded -- but the flames weren't the biggest problem for firefighters.
"Water was our biggest nemesis," he said, "there's only one hydrant that serves this area and it's a small capacity hydrant system all the water had to be tanked in."
From other hydrants, some of which were two or three miles away.
"It was anywhere between a four to six mile round trip for these tankers so it takes time," Yaeger said.
And assisting the firefighters on this Thanksgiving was the Salvation Army.
"Our goal is to get out here and serve the first responders especially on Thanksgiving Day to make their jobs a little easier, given them something to drink, something to eat," said Lt. Brad Moore of the Salvation Army.
Firefighters say there's likely more than a million dollars in damage. The cause is under investigation.
"We're looking at the southeast quadrant of the building itself, where some equipment was stored and possibly plugged in, so it's probably going to be a day or two as we continue our investigation," Yaeger said.
He added that the fire doesn't appear to be suspicious.
Fire officials say crews will monitor this site for at least a couple days to make sure flare ups don't occur. And then, steps will likely be taken to demolish the building.