Repairs to the Tyson Fresh Meats Holcomb beef plant are nearing completion and the facility is expected to start ramping up operations with production on the harvest floor expected to start the first week in December.

The plant is expected to be back in full operation the first week in January.

"We recognize the disruption the fire caused for our suppliers and our customers are more than pleased to announce we are in the final stages of reconstruction," said Steve Stouffer, group president for Tyson Fresh Meats, in a news release. "Our team is ready to begin the process of ramping back up, recognizing that there will be testing and adjustments over the first few weeks to ensure equipment functionality while maintaining our commitment to team member safety and food safety."

During the ramping up process, employees will take some time to reacquaint themselves with the equipment.

"We have to make sure everything is running right," said Liz Croston, a spokeswoman for Tyson Fresh Meats.

The fire caused severe damage to the hydraulic and electrical systems for the harvest floor and cooler areas. While the fire shut down much of the plant operations, there were portions that were able to continue operations after the fire.

Repairs to the facility included gutting the burned-out areas, replacing support beams, the roof, hydraulic pipes and pumps, and installing over 50,000 feet of new wiring plus other electrical equipment.

During the reconstruction period, full-time employees received full pay and were instrumental in helping with the repair process, Croston said.

Employees would report for work on Monday morning and would be assigned various tasks, including cleanup and some of the reconstruction work.

"Our employees were very helpful these last three months on cleanup and reconstruction," Croston said.

Repair work has been completed in some areas, and in late August, the Holcomb facility was able to restart limited ground beef and value-added production.

"We're pleased with the progress we've made over the last three months and more than pleased to announce we'll be resuming operations in the next few weeks," Croston said.

The Holcomb facility has 3,800 employees. In the weeks since the fire, Tyson has moved cattle to some of its other facilities to help reduce production volume loss and to help with the disruption to cattle producers and customers, according to the news release.

There were about 1,200 employees on duty when the fire broke out at the plant about 8:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 9, with 400 working the harvest shift on the west side of the building, closer to the fire. All employees were evacuated from the building, according to Tyson.

The fire was considered under control by 9:30 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 10. No one was injured in the fire.