Fire destroys chemical plant
WAXAHACHIE – Magna-blend Inc, a chemical plant in Waxahachie, burned down to the ground on Monday, Oct. 3 with an estimated $15-20 million loss.
What started out with multiple loud booms heard throughout the city, ended up with more than 1,000 people evacuated from the area as large fires erupted and plumes of dark gray smoke covered the skies.
The fires, located off Highway 287 and Interstate 35 East, prompted road closings and Ellis County to issue a “civil emergency” as stated in the release below:
“People in the area of Highway 287 and Interstate 35 East in Waxahachie should evacuate immediately due to a large chemical plant fire. In particular...residents of the Solon Place Apartments and people at Wedgeworth Elementary and Navarro College are advised to evacuate immediately.
“The Sheriff’s office requests that people not drive to the area to observe the fire.”
Southwestern Assemblies of God also canceled all afternoon classes due to health and safety concerns.
The Environmental Protection Agency monitored the air for health quality indicating no threat as of 8 p.m. Monday evening.
A local chemist said the chemicals in the fire could possibly pose “cancer risk to death for those with compromised lung function with asthmatics particularly at risk for bronchospasm, as well as chemical pneumonitis for those closest to the fire.”
Magnablend, Inc. provides custom chemical blending, manufacturing, and packaging services. It offers liquid and powder blending services; and specialty chemical blending services, such as exothermic and endothermic reactions, anhydrous ammonia, powder spraying, polymer dispersions, and precision accuracy.
The company manufactures products based on customer’s formulations and specifications, as well as provides assistance in the development of new formulations. It serves oil field, agriculture, water treatment, construction, industrial cleaning, rubber tire, electronics, pet products, and cementing industries. The company was founded in 1979 and is based in Waxahachie, Texas with locations in Alice, Texas; Mills, Wyoming; and Everson, Pennsylvania according to the company’s profile online.
Mutual aid was brought in from 11 surrounding agencies, including Ennis, who lost a fire truck when sparks latched hold of it, causing the truck to burn to the ground.
All plant employees were able to leave the building safely and crews working the event only suffered minor heat exhaustion.
The exact cause of the fire has yet to be determined and is currently under investigation.
The EPA has set up a perimeter, so they could conduct a full analysis of the situation with part of the perimeter being either on or near Wedgeworth Elementary according to Waxahachie Independent School District Public Relations Director Nicole Mansell.
“Throughout Tuesday Oct.4, agency officials will be monitoring and checking the data collected from the testing stations. District officials are continuing to monitor the situation and as a precautionary measure, are requiring all students to remain inside for the duration of the day,” said Mansell.
If you are experiencing a medical emergency, please dial 9-1-1 immediately. If you are having respiratory difficulties that are not at the emergency level, please contact your primary care physician.
You may contact Cindy Helton at 972-825-5194, Monday to Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., to learn if there is any new information available. You may also call 817-264-4949 during those same hours if the other line is busy.
Any updated information will also be available on the county website at www.Co.Ellis.Tx.Us.com.