A fire that gutted portions of Naumes Inc.’s Olivehurst, Calif., packinghouse is not expected to cause delays in shipping for the upcoming pear season.

The timing of the June 25 fire turned out to be convenient.

“We had just finished rainier cherries and were getting ready for the pear season,” said Robert Boggess, general counsel for Naumes.

A packing line building, constructed in 1997 after a major flood, suffered minor damage, he said.

“Thanks to the heroic efforts of the fire department, the only damage was heat that warped some of the plastic sizer cups at one end of the line,” Boggess said.

Repairs are expected to be completed soon.

“We target that we’ll be able to pack red pears when the season begins,” Boggess said. “If there’s any delay, it will be slight.”

Earlier this month, California grower-shippers said the picking of very early pear varieties could start as soon as July 9, but that volume would not begin to ramp up until mid-July.

Within 24 hours of the fire, Naumes had assembled a task force of employees from Olivehurst and the company’s corporate headquarters in Medford, Ore., and brought in building and electrical contractors to draw up temporary plans, Boggess said.

Those plans include setting up an air-conditioned industrial tent to serve as a segregation room, he said, and bringing in trailers to serve as offices for the shipping and packing staffs.

Four newer ammonia cold storage rooms were untouched by the fire, but older freon rooms were destroyed, Boggess said. Other older buildings and equipment at the facility, about 35 miles north of Sacramento, were gutted. The buildings contained the segregation room, packing supplies, conveyors, a strapping machine, employee restrooms and a lunch room, he said.

“We don’t expect any dramatic change in shipments or availability.” Boggess said.

California pears on schedule after Naumes fire