Monday, July 4, 2022

Fire at Omaha chemical plant forces evacuations

OMAHA, Neb. ( Associated Press) — A fire at a chemical plant southwest of downtown Omaha forced some residents to evacuate Monday night and left thousands without power.

Dense smoke billowed from the Nox-Crete facility, but no injuries were reported, according to KETV.

The first call for help was made before 7 p.m., Fire Chief Scott Fitzpatrick said.

Firefighters had initially struggled to access the fire, but later realized it was larger than estimated and pulled back, knowing there were propane cylinders and chemicals at the scene, Fitzpatrick said.

According to its website, Nox-Crete manufactures building materials such as floor hardeners, joint fillers, and water repellents. The company had not yet released a statement.

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KETV reported that explosions were seen as part of the building collapsed and propane containers ruptured.

Omaha firefighters estimated that the fire would take hours to be controlled.

Residents in the area were initially urged to shelter in place, but shortly before 9:00 p.m. an evacuation alert was issued for residents between 13th and 20th streets, from Leavenworth to Marta. People who did not evacuate were urged to stay indoors with their windows closed.

The smoke posed no toxicity risks, according to the Pottawattamie County Emergency Management Agency.

The Omaha Public Power District utility said more than 2,500 customers had lost power near the fire.

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