Massive fire destroys potato plant in Grant County; evacuation orders lifted

Evacuation orders have been lifted after a massive fire at a potato plant in Grant County, but firefighters fear the area's major employer is a total loss. 

Kyle Foreman with the Grant County Sheriff's Office said the fire started at Washington Potato Company about 5:30 p.m. A few hours later, the county evacuated much of the town of Warden because a large ammonia tank was at risk of exploding. 

Residents were able to return about 12:45 a.m., Foreman said. Firefighters will remain on scene Friday to manage hot spots and determine the cause. 

Foreman said potato plant is a big employer for the small town of Warden, home to about 2,800 people. 

"Fortunately no one was hurt," Foreman said. "There certainly was the potential because of all the hazards associated with the plant."