Workers see hope in the wake of the Echo Lake Foods fire

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BURLINGTON (WITI) -- Hundreds of workers of Echo Lake Foods met on Wednesday, February 6th to hear from the company and state about their future.

The workers turned out at three different meetings throughout the day. Company officials told them there are plans to rebuild. But those workers have concerns about how to survive financially until that happens.

Shelby Piepiora's life was on the upswing. The forklift operator who'd seen his share of lay-offs just landed a job at the Echo Lake Foods plant. Now Piepiora is one of hundreds learning about government help.

"Services like unemployment insurance, BadgerCare for healthcare insurance, food stamps as well as all the resources available through the Workforce Development Center," said Alice Oliver from Workforce Development.

Echo Lake Foods officials say they will hire back dozens in the coming weeks to work at their Yorkville plant. The company also hopes to start a small production line at its Burlington site.

Piepiora is hopeful to one day work back at Echo Lake Foods and get his life back to where it was before the massive fire.

On Wednesday, February 13th, there will be a job fair in Burlington with at least a dozen companies who are interested in hiring the displaced workers.