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Fire destroys longtime business Johnson’s Smokehouse in East Olympia

The remnants of Johnson’s Smokehouse in East Olympia after a fire destroyed the business overnight Sunday.
The remnants of Johnson’s Smokehouse in East Olympia after a fire destroyed the business overnight Sunday. Rolf Boone

Johnson’s Smokehouse and Sausage Kitchen, a longtime business in East Olympia, was destroyed by fire late Saturday night, according to East Olympia Fire District 6.

A total of eight fire departments responded to the blaze, said Mark Nelson, assistant fire chief of Fire District 6. His crews were still on scene Sunday morning. No residents or fire personnel were injured, he said. A cause has yet to be determined.

Nelson said they were dispatched to the 8300 block of Diagonal Road Southeast at 11:44 p.m. Saturday.

Fire District 6 is not far from that location. Still, Nelson said when they arrived the fire was well under way and flames were showing through the roof. The Johnson residence, which occupies the same property, was not damaged, he said.

Access to the property was a challenge for fire crews, he said. Nelson described the building as “really compartmentalized,” so crews fought the fire defensively.

He said Johnson’s had been in the area a long time.

“It’s a huge loss for the community,” Nelson said.

According to the Smokehouse website, owner Ron Johnson started his meat-cutting career when he was 19. He later formed his own meat-cutting and wrapping company in 1983 with his wife, Sue, and father, Dale.

He and his wife later opened a retail stall at the Olympia Farmers Market, according to the website.

In 1998, they built a USDA-approved facility for processing smoked meats and cheeses, website information shows.

Owner Johnson could not be reached Sunday.

Rolf has worked at The Olympian since August 2005. He covers breaking news, the city of Lacey and business for the paper. Rolf graduated from The Evergreen State College in 1990.
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