600 tons of explosive ammonium nitrate in stock!A fire at a fertilizer plant in the United States has prompted an emergency evacuation of residents nearby

2022-05-22 0 By

A fire broke out at a fertilizer plant in North Carolina on Tuesday, storing 600 tons of explosive ammonium nitrate, ABC News reported Tuesday.Firefighters were forced to evacuate the scene after the blaze got out of control.About 6,500 residents within a one-mile radius of the facility were told to evacuate.The fire at the fertilizer plant, just north of Winston-Salem, spewed toxic gas into the air that the local fire chief said smelled like defunct fireworks and blanketed the city of 250,000 with a cloud of smoke.Witnesses said the fire broke out at 6:45pm local time on Monday and quickly spread through the plant, triggering multiple explosions as firefighters rushed to the plant.Firefighters only battled the blaze for about 90 minutes before it became too dangerous for them to remain on the scene, local fire Chief William Mayo said at a news conference Tuesday morning.”We decided to abandon the firefighting operation and withdraw the firefighters because there was a risk of explosion from the products stored on site,” Mayo said.He added that there were concerns about the large amount of explosive chemicals stored at the plant, with 500 tonnes of ammonium nitrate in one warehouse and 100 tonnes in one carriage.In addition, the plant has 5,000 tons of finished fertilizer.Asked by a reporter how close the flames were to ammonium nitrate, Mr. Mayo replied, “Everything is in the line of fire.”Mayo also pointed to the April 17, 2013, ammonium nitrate explosion at a fertilizer company in West Texas, which killed 15 people and reduced 150 buildings to rubble.”They had 240 tons of ammonium nitrate.And when the fire started last night, we had 600 tons of ammonium nitrate here, “Mr. Mayo said.” So if that doesn’t convey the seriousness of the situation and how seriously people need to take this, I don’t know what will.”Fire officials said earlier Tuesday that they were sending water to an area of the facility where ammonium nitrate is stored, trying to keep the temperature there below 400 degrees to prevent explosions.In addition, firefighters are using drones to monitor fires and hope to send a fire department hazmat expert to observe the blaze by helicopter.Mayo said most firefighters had now evacuated a mile around, but five commandos were in place and would move in once conditions improved to continue fighting the blaze.About 2,500 homes and 6,500 residents living within a mile of the plant have been advised to evacuate the area, Mayo said.Winston-salem Mayor Alan Joynes said Tuesday morning that the evacuation could be extended.”As we evacuate, we have to be very concerned about toxic gases and smoke coming out of the fertilizer plant,” he said.Mayo said people with respiratory problems should stay indoors and keep doors and Windows closed.Matthew Smith, leader of the North Carolina Hazardous Materials Area Response Team 5, said experts believe the threat of an explosion is expected to last up to 36 hours. “We’re not going to go near it for another 36 hours,” Smith said