Fire Destroys Chemical Plant Firefighters Unsure of Chemicals Involved, Upper Darby, PA : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Fire Destroys Chemical Plant Firefighters Unsure of Chemicals Involved, Upper Darby, PA, United States 1/5/2000

CSB Incident Number NRC Report Number Board Ref. Number 2000-4566 None Reported None

Date of Report Update No CSB Action 1/6/2000 - 1:40 AM

----- A dozen families were displaced and got shelter from the American Red Cross after a chemical plant was destroyed by fire. No major injuries were reported.

``We want to make that they have all of their emergency needs,'' Shelley McCaffrey, a spokewoman for the southeastern Pennsylvania chapter of the Red Cross, said early today.

She said there were 35 to 40 people in the 12 families that were accepting aid in the form of food, motel vouchers and clothing vouchers as a result of Tuesday night's fire.

The flames consumed the walls of the Advanced Chemicals Inc. building, leaving only the steel frame behind. Even as the flames burned down, firefighters worried about what chemicals might be contained in smoke billowing from the factory and also worried about the structure collapsing.

The prevailing wind blew most of the smoke away from a nearby residential area, but a block of houses next to the burning building was evacuated anyway. Firefighters set up temporary shelter for the residents at the borough hall and a nearby church.

All workers inside the factory at the time made it out safely, firefighters said. Fire officials said some firefighters received minor injuries and they were also worried about the possibility of the building collapsing.

Firefighters were uncertain what Advance Chemicals made at the site, saying that all they knew was that the company worked with powder-based chemicals. Officials planned to meet with the company's owners and call up air sampling crews.

Early on, firefighters said they were hampered by low water pressure, but they seemed to gain the upper hand as the fire ran out of material to burn.

Some neighbors said they heard a blast and came out of their homes to see the building on fire. Firefighters said a propane tank in a forklift in the plant may have caught fire, setting off the blaze.

Sources ( * indicates the original source) Source Details Media - Associated Press * 01-05-2000 0434EST

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