Three-Alarm Fire at Chem Plant

Wednesday, February 10, 2016 @ 09:02 AM gHale

A three-alarm fire broke out at a plant in northern Butler County, PA, early Saturday morning.

Emergency crews got the call 8 a.m., and firefighters had the fire under control after about an hour, but were still at the scene around 10 a.m.

Fatal Chem Plant Blast Cause: Bad Equipment
Chemical Spill at MA Facility
Acid Spills into ME Wetlands
Ethanol Plant Fined for Dumping Waste

The building, located on Route 38, was a processing plant for Oxbow Activated Carbon, which acquired the plant from Superior Adsorbents in July 2015.

There was concern the fire would ignite thousands of wood pallets inside the building.

“The issue was hot embers falling down onto the pallets that’s why we used the aerial truck to peel the roof back,” said Firefighter Brady Louise.

At one point a propane tank exploded on the back of a forklift, releasing a large cloud of black smoke out of the building.

“Our crew happened to be in another portion of the warehouse not in danger of the explosion, but we backed out the crews to make sure there were no more explosions,” Louise said.

Chief Ryan Ensco with the Eau Claire Volunteer Fire Department explained that warehouses and industrial plants are dangerous for firefighters.

“We had to be careful positioning the apparatus then of course you never know what’s inside these warehouses, you never know what’s inside. This one made chemical carbon based absorbents,” Ensco said.

According to a statement from Oxbow Activated Carbon, the plant was not in operation at the time of the fire, and there were no injuries. The cause of the fire is unknown and an investigation is continuing.