Firefighter injured at US chemical plant explosion

Article by Amanda Jasi

ONE firefighter was injured while responding to a large fire at a chemical plant in Affton, St Louis County, Missouri.

According to local media organisation St Louis Public Radio, the fire occurred at about 14:30 local time, on 29 April. News companies report multiple explosions during the fire, at a facility owned by chemical company Manor Chemical. The St Louis County Police Department tweeted at about 17:30 that evening to say that the fire had been extinguished.

The injured firefighter was taken to hospital, according to Matt Coppin, say reports. Coppin is a Lieutenant for public safety agency Metro West Fire Protection District. He was not able to comment on the extent of the firefighter’s injuries, or to say how they were injured.

Coppin informed that employees at the chemical site had been safely evacuated by about 17:00, according to the Associated Press (AP). Fire personnel were the first on the scene, and a total of 13 fire agencies and 62 fire trucks were involved in managing the incident.

According to Coppin, up to ten types of chemical may have been involved in the fire, reports AP. St Louis Public Radio says that Coppin stated that the chemical plant, ten containers, and a tanker truck were on fire when crew arrived.

After the fire started, residents within a half-mile (0.8 km) of the plant were evacuated, and according to AP they were able to return later that same day at about 18:00.

St Louis Public Radio reports that the Metropolitan St Louis Sewer District (MSD) responded on site. MSD is responsible for collecting, treating, and disposing of wastewater in 79 regional sewer districts. Reportedly, a spokesperson said they were concerned that chemicals from the plant might enter the sewer system. The report adds nothing further on this.

Reports did not speculate on the cause of the fire.

Article by Amanda Jasi

Staff Reporter, The Chemical Engineer

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