Crews tackle huge chemical blaze

06 Oct 2011

A fire sparked as workers mixed chemicals at a plant south of Dallas shot massive plumes of black smoke and bright orange flames into the sky, forcing schoolchildren and residents to evacuate or take cover indoors to avoid possible exposure to dangerous gases.

Flames engulfed a large complex at a Magnablend Inc facility in Waxahachie, Texas.

The fast-moving blaze overwhelmed a sprinkler system and consumed a fire truck, but no injuries were reported from the fire or resulting smoke.

Waxahachie Fire Chief David Hudgins said it was not immediately clear what chemicals were involved in sparking the fire.

About 1,000 residents who had been evacuated were allowed to return to their homes, said Waxahachie Fire Department spokeswoman Amy Hollywood. Waxahachie, 30 miles south of Dallas, has about 25,000 residents.

The blaze was 95% under control by Monday evening, Ms Hollywood said.

Magnablend Inc manufactures, blends and packages chemicals. Much of its business revolves around energy production, including chemicals used to stimulate oil and gas wells and hydraulic fracturing.

Copyright Press Association 2011



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