Clennin's Meats is destroyed by a fire

Hundreds of Mid-Missouri deer hunters will go without eating their kill after a meat processing plant went up in flames this past Saturday.

The flames swept through Clennin's Meats in California, Missouri early Saturday morning.

By the time crews arrived around 4:30 a.m., the large building was fully engulfed.

The rural fire chief said an electrical malfunction in an older part of the building sparked the blaze.

"I would say it's pretty much a total loss. I mean it burnt everything that was inside the building up, Owner of Clennin's Meats James Gerlach said. There is really nothing we can take out to salvage."

Gerlach said everything is destroyed, including almost 200 deer were burnt up in the fire and that includes files of who the deer belonged to.

"Trying to get a list of everybody who brought one; a name and an address. I want to get everybody's' deposits sent back to them as quick as we can, Gerlach said. When we get done and when i figure out where I'm at we're going to try to do something for everybody's deer."

Clennin's Meats has been in California since the 1950's, the building destroyed by fire was built in the 1970's.

Gerlach said they are waiting for word from his insurance company, but says he plans to re-build.

The destroyed meat includes a thousand pounds set aside for the "Share the Harvest" program that gives venison to needy homes.

Those who left deer to be processed at Clennin's are asking to call the company to arrange for a refund.

You can reach them at (573) 796-2580.