Obstacles in Fighting Chem Plant Fire

Tuesday, May 13, 2014 @ 03:05 PM gHale

A warehouse of a chemical plant in West Berlin, NJ, caught fire after several explosions last Thursday.

The fire broke out at 1:30 p.m. at the ResinTech chemical plant on Cooper Road in West Berlin and a large plume of smoke was billowing from one of the buildings at the plant.

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As the fire raged on, the roof collapsed into the warehouse, making it difficult for firefighters to get water on the source of the flames. Also, solar panels cover the rooftop and they are electrified, making it even more complicated for crews.

Fire crews reported small explosions taking place inside the building during the beginning of the firefight. Propane tanks, attached to forklifts used in the facility, ignited causing the blasts, said Public Information Officer William Duxes .

Officials said about 12 employees evacuated and there were no reports of any injuries.

ResinTech Inc. is an “acknowledged leader in ion exchange, manufactures a broad range of ion exchange resins for water and waste water treatment, including deionization, softening, metals removal, product purification, resource recovery, and pollution control. In addition to its ion exchange resins, ResinTech supplies activated carbon and inorganic selective exchangers,” according to the company’s website.

The fire ended up contained to the warehouse.

Seventeen fire companies responded to the blaze.

“There’s been a lot of questions from the public in regards to the concern about hazardous materials,” Duxes said. “The water runoff has been monitored from the beginning by the hazardous materials team and there are negative readings. The retention pond where all this water is captured does have some booming in it to make sure, but even at this point we have had no readings at all, nothing abnormal.”

Fire crews will likely be working through the night because of the layering of the rooftop is on top of where the fire actually started.

The fire marshal is investigating the cause of the fire.

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