Hazmat Crews Tackle Contaminated Runoff From Chemical Blaze

Crews working for days after contaminated runoff goes into creek

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Investigators continue to investigate the plant where a massive chemical fire erupted last Friday.

    Investigators from all levels of government continue to investigate a massive chemical fire that erupted in Garland on Friday.

    Hazardous materials experts have gone back to the area near the Nexeo Solutions Plant. Crews have been cleaning up and trying to contain the mess for days.

    On Tuesday, hazmat teams tackled contaminated soil and water runoff in a nearby creek.

    "The top priority is try to contain the contaminated runoff," said Jason Chessher, the city's deputy director of health. "In this case, it happens to be Duck Creek, which is a major watershed in Garland that ultimately goes into the Trinity River."

    City officials said workers found small amounts of methanol and motor oil but not enough to pose a public threat. Crews have dammed off the creek to contain the runoff.

    An explosion rocked the chemical plant while crews unloaded methanol from a rail car into a tank on Friday afternoon.

    No one was injured in the fire.

    So far, Garland Fire marshals consider the fire to be an accident, but they said that Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigators talked with employees to see if any mistakes sparked the fire.

    Randy Shaft, who works at a business across from the plant, said he remembers the explosion rocking the street.

    "First, I thought it was a transformer, maybe bomb," he said. "It kind of shook the ground a little bit. It was loud."

    Those nearest to the blaze said they would never forget it. Shaft said it was "pure chaos," with people running around in the middle of the street and trying to get in their cars and leave.

    City officials said that southbound Shiloh Road would be closed until at least Wednesday, when they hope crews finish the cleanup.