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Merida wakes up to the smell of a pork processing plant on fire

Blaze follows angry protests from workers, neighbors

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A fire Sunday morning at a Keken meat processing plant sent smoke for miles. Ashes fell in the Centro. Photo: Punto Medio

Merida, Yucatan — The city center was choked Sunday morning by smoke and embers from a factory fire miles away.

“No wonder the dog is sneezing,” said one Centro resident after learning that the Kekén pork processing plant in Tixpéual, on the Mérida-Valladolid highway, was on fire.

Watery eyes and sore throats were widely reported on social media.

The fire is believed to have started in the food area of the factory, although the odor suggests burning plastics. No injuries were reported, and it’s not clear if the plant was operating when the blaze broke out.

The same factory was the scene of angry confrontations earlier this week.

A work stoppage was organized Monday when employees were rumored to have been infected with coronavirus. Protestors said 60 to 70 workers had flu symptoms yet were compelled to report to work. Neighbors on Tuesday blocked one of its entrances with stones and sticks for fear of contagion.

Rapidly expanding Kekén has multiple factories that produce tons of pork yielded from tens of thousands of pigs each month.

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