OLYMPIA, Wash. -- Fire investigators are trying to figure out what sparked a blaze that destroyed a longtime family-owned business in Olympia.
Three decades of hard work and dedication at Johnson’s Smokehouse and Sausage Kitchen were reduced to charred rubble in a matter of hours.
Firefighters were called to the business along the 8300 block of Diagonal Road Southeast around 11:45 p.m. Saturday.
Now their future is uncertain.
“When I came up to the store there were flames 35 to 40 feet in the air, my heart dropped,” said Ron Johnson, owner of Johnson’s Smokehouse and Sausage Kitchen.
Ron and his wife Sue Johnson started the business in 1983 processing game for farmer and hunters.
36 years later the company is operated as a USDA-approved facility processing smoked meats, cheeses and their popular trail mix to sell to retails stores nationwide.
“We’ve had some of the store chains calling saying when you get back online you’ll have a slot in our store,” Johnson said.
And they hope that will be sometime soon. The Anderson’s adult children now run the business that includes 29 employees who are now without a job.
“Now what are they going to do,” Johnson said. “It’s tough.”
Eight fire departments poured more than 200,000 gallons of water onto the fire that caused millions of dollars in damage. The facility is a total loss.
“We’ll keep the product alive, we’ll keep Johnson’s alive, “ he said.
Johnson says other companies have reached out offering their facilities to help get their popular trail mix back on store shelves.
“We’re not going to give up, one way or another we want to keep our brand out there in the Northwest,” Johnson said. “We’ve worked too hard to get it there.”
It’s not yet clear when Johnson’s Smokehouse and Sausage will be able to start producing their products again.