No Injuries in Irving Chemical Plant Fire

Witnesses Heard Explosions

By Shane Allen
|  Monday, Jun 7, 2010  |  Updated 5:11 PM CDT
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No Injuries in Irving Chemical Plant Fire

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AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - JUNE 22: Generic Fire Image. Smoked filled several Otahuhu streets as more than 80 firefighters with 20 appliances from across Auckland struggled to contain a fire at Raw Energy Ltd, a bulk food factory, in the early hours of Saturday morning. (Photo by Dean Purcell/Getty Images)

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No Injuries in Irving Chemical Plant Fire

A North Texas chemical plant off of Irving Boulevard caught fire early Monday morning. After firefighters contained the fire to the chemical plant's roof, they took extra precautions to quell fears the runoff from the mix of debris and water would go into area storm systems.
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The investigation into what sparked a two-alarm fire at an Irving chemical company Monday morning is ongoing, though preliminary indications point toward a static spark igniting the fire.

The fire started on the roof of the Schnee-Morehead company in the 100 block of North Nursery in Irving just before 7 a.m. Monday, investigators said.  Company officials were able to evacuate all employees, and no one was injured.

One witness told NBCDFW he saw black smoke and flames coming from the building.  Witnesses on the scene reportedly heard at least two explosions.

"The smoke became a flicker of a flame and the flame grew and next thing you know fire trucks are coming" said Marlon Dickson.

Firefighters said they were able to quickly douse the blaze.

A spokesperson for the Irving Fire Department said they decided to upgrade the fire to a two-alarm due to firefighters fatigue from the hot temperatures outside.

According to the Irving-based company’s website, Schnee-Morehead is a producer of silicone, polyurethane, acrylic and foam sealants. 

"The area where the fire occurred is where we make our polyurethane based sealants" said Schnee Morehead director of operations, Jim Matthews.

Because of that, firefighters had to take extra precautions to keep the run-off from going into the storm drains. 

Thirty-six firefighters were called out to the scene Monday morning and while it may seem to be overkill for an easily contained fire, Irving’s Assistant Fire Chief Rusty Wilson said it's an important step to keeping his men safe.

“A lot of times that's for relief of personnel, not the magnitude of the incident. It doesn't have to be a big incident in this sort of weather. You put all of that gear on and strap on that breathing apparatus, you're going to get hot real quick," Wilson said.

Firefighters estimate $100,000 in damage was done to the building.

A DART line that runs by the company was temporarily stopped as a precaution, an Irving Fire Department dispatcher said over the phone.  It was back up and running by 7:30 a.m.

The company hoped to open back up by the end of the day.  Damage to the building seemed to be limited to the roof, according to preliminary reports by crews on the scene. 

NBC DFW's Kim Fischer contributed to this report.

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