Operations were halted Friday by the second fire in less than a year at a Maple Leaf Foods plant being retooled as the company's "centre of excellence" for ham.
A company spokesperson said the fire, which started in the packaging area of the Winnipeg facility, was noticed and reported by an employee at about 10:45 Friday morning.
Employees were still prohibited from re-entering the building early this afternoon, said Rosa Damonte, Maple Leaf's director of communications.
No one was injured in the fire or evacuation, she said.
The extent of the damage to the plant isn't yet known, she said. Local media on Friday afternoon said fire crews had to cut into the roof at the Lagimodiere Boulevard plant.
Winnipeg fire officials were not immediately available for comment Friday afternoon.
The facility, in the city's St. Boniface area, was announced in October as the subject of an $85 million expansion to 340,000 square feet, up from 270,000.
In mid-November, however, operations at the plant were set back by a fire which, according to local media quoting city fire officials, started on the roof and caused an estimated $2 million in damages.
The Lagimodiere plant's expansion, scheduled for completion by mid-2013, is to see new ham and bacon smokehouses, coolers, packaging lines and other equipment added, along with 345 additional jobs.
Some of the upgrades at Maple Leaf's Winnipeg and Brandon, Man. plants were backed by over $4.5 million in repayable funding from the federal Slaughter Improvement Program, which would have required the funded work to be done by the end of March this year.
The Lagimodiere plant is also to become the largest bacon processing plant in Canada, taking on capacity from Maple Leaf plants booked to close at North Battleford, Sask. and Moncton, N.B. in early 2013 and later 2014 respectively.
Maple Leaf resuming production at Winnipeg after fire,
Nov. 14, 2011
Maple Leaf plans expansions, closures across prepared meats business,
Oct. 19, 2011