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Computer engineers help keep Echo Lake Foods afloat

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BURLINGTON (WITI) -- It's been a month-and-a-half since a massive fire destroyed the Echo Lake Foods plant in Burlington. Now, we're hearing from some of the unsung heroes from that night -- not firefighters, but computer engineers.

All 300 employees made it out of the plant okay. But the plant went up in a fire-ball.

Now, the company is introducing us to a group it says helped save the company.

"We actually have monitoring systems that told us something was wrong," said Lou Morelli, who worked for Xenitel.

Xenitel is a small information technology company from Waukesha. It's responsible for most of Echo Lake Foods' computer needs.

"We were able to restore that data, actually while the fire was happening, the team did a great job, and they were able to pull it together for Echo," said Morelli.

"When you walk in, your phone don't work, your computer are melted up, water-logged or whatever and nothing works.  It's a nightmare you know," said Echo Lakes General Manager Jerry Warntjes.

Warntjes points out not only was the factory lost, but also the company's corporate headquarters.

As firefighters doused hot spots, Xenitel was busy rebuilding computer servers, networks and pulling data once held in burnt out offices. It's a move that kept the company's other two factories running and Echo Lake Foods afloat.

"If we would have walked in and didn't have these plans in place, we would have lost our employees,  we would have lost our customers, we'd have nothing left," said Warntjes.

Echo Lake Foods officials say of course, the first responders deserve so much credit for their hard work. But the company wanted to put some spotlight on another Wisconsin company that deserves credit.

Echo Lake Foods hopes to rebuild in Burlington in 2014.