Cinnaminson, NJ, October 4th, 2011 -- A massive fire was reported on Monday in Waxahachie, Texas. Thick black smoke that was visible for miles was of particular concern because it was burning at an industrial site that housed multiple types of chemicals.
According to CNN, officials ordered the evacuation of a school, apartment building and other industrial sites in the area. In all, close to 1,000 people were evacuated. Others were told to keep their windows closed and stay inside.
The plant that caught fire manufactures about 200 products. An EPA official said that close to 50,000 pounds of anhydrous ammonia, along with numerous other chemicals, is believed to be housed at the site. Officials have begun monitoring the outdoor air quality to try to determine what was released into the air due to the fire and if conditions are safe for the 25,000 city residents.
“Exposure to anhydrous ammonia and other chemicals released into the air can occur through inhalation over a wide area follwoing a major chemical plant fire,” reported Joe Frasca, Senior Vice President, Marketing at EMSL Analytical, Inc., a leading environmental testing laboratory. “In addition to immediate health concerns for people exposed to the smoke, long term smoke and soot damage to nearby structures could also result from a major fire, like what was witnessed today. Industrial fires can produce an enormous amount of smoke that infiltrates nearby businesses, institutions and people’s homes. This smoke is filled with combustion by-products that include various toxic chemicals, soot, ash and char. This smoke can have damaging effects to both property and to humans breathing the smoke filled air. Often, property insurance claims require proof of smoke damage to approve the necessary remediation services necessary to return the properties to pre-fire conditions,” he continued.
EMSL recently sponsored an online video about indoor environmental hazards following a fire. It can be seen at:
About EMSL Analytical, Inc.
EMSL Analytical is a nationally recognized and locally focused provider of environmental and materials testing services and products to professionals and the general public. The company has an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies.