A fire Tuesday at a chemical plant near Interstate 35 in southeast Oklahoma City caused explosions and evacuations, but no injuries.
The five-alarm fire at Bachman Services Inc., 2220 S Prospect Ave., caused concerns because of the chemicals involved, Deputy Fire Chief Marc Woodard said.
The company had 400 55-gallon drums of various chemicals and chemical mixes, Woodard said.
One chemical was identified as triazine, an emulsion breaker that is flammable and toxic.
Triazine is also a skin, eye and respiratory irritant, Woodard said.
Firefighters used foam to put out fire near the chemicals that would react with water, fire Maj. Tammy McKinney said.
Firefighters had to be bathed in soap and water and sprayed down after fighting the fire because of the potential danger of chemicals mixing with the water used to fight the fire, Woodard said. No injuries were reported, but paramedics treated three people for heat exhaustion on the scene, he said.
Fire officials evacuated the businesses immediately surrounding the chemical company because of the possible danger of chemicals in the smoke, McKinney said.
About 70 firefighters were on the scene soon after a forklift caught on fire about 1 p.m.
It took about two hours for firefighters to fully extinguish the blaze.
Witnesses heard explosions at the plant, and billowing black smoke could be seen for miles.
“We heard some explosions. You could hear them, and then they'd shoot up a ball of smoke 80 to 100 feet high,” said Dick Koetter, owner of the nearby Automatic Fire Control.
The company makes fire extinguishers, and Koetter joked that it was a shame they couldn't help the firefighters.
“We were standing here and we could see smoke coming up, and we saw it get worse and worse,” he said.
Joe Lewis, owner of Horizon Hydraulics, which is adjacent to Bachman Services, said his building was evacuated but he wasn't worried about damage or smoke inhalation because the wind was blowing the smoke in the opposite direction.
“We just built that seven or eight years ago,” he said. “We have a big firewall against that, like seven or eight layers of Sheetrock, so we were lucky.”
None of the surrounding businesses sustained damage, Woodard said.
He said there was no estimate of damage done to Bachman Services yet.