Safety Labeling Helps Battle Chem Blaze

Monday, December 15, 2014 @ 05:12 PM gHale

A fire inside a chemical plant on Erie, PA’s, west side Thursday morning, ended up closing several city blocks for more than an hour.

Crews got the call to United Erie, 1432 Chestnut St., around 3:30 a.m. for reports of a sodium fire. Erie Police shut down several blocks, from 14th and Chestnut to 18th and Chestnut while fighting the fire. The streets reopened around 4:45a.m. Firefighters contained and doused the flames in about an hour.

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Prior to arrival, firefighters learned they would not be able to fight the blaze with water because liquid sodium is flammable. Fire crews ended up using dry chemicals to fight the fire.

Erie Chief Fire Inspector Guy Santone and his team were in touch with the plant’s staff throughout the entire fire.

“Anytime you go to a chemical plant, you’re always aware of what might happen,” Santone said. “We’re in touch with the employees at the building and they keep us informed of what we need when we get here. Same thing happened tonight. We knew what we had to do when we got here and took care of it and everything turned out well.”

Santone will continue to investigate the fire. Currently, no cause has been determined. There were no injuries reported.

Portions of the plant not affected by fire resumed normal activity later in the morning.

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