Responders battle concrete plant blaze
Volume 23, No. 3
A worker using a torch to cut metal ignited a plastic coating lining a rock bin at a concrete plant in Medley, FL, on April 22, a report issued by the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue (MDFR) states.
It took 25 MDFR units and 100 firefighters 45 minutes to extinguish the blaze. Investigators and plant engineers were called in to assess the extent of the damage. Fortunately no injuries were reported.
Responding units could see a giant column of smoke from over five miles away. When fire units arrived, they encountered heavy smoke billowing from a rock bin that was completely engulfed in flames. Fire crews immediately initiated a defensive fire attack by positioning aerial ladder trucks and applying water streams to adjoining rock bins, which were being threatened by impinging flames. Due to the potential for explosion and fire spread, hundreds of employees were evacuated from the plant.
The worker involved stated that a spark from the torch ignited a plastic coating which lines the interior of the rock bin. He attempted to extinguish the fire with a fire extinguisher but the extinguisher was inoperable, the MDFR report states. A giant exhaust fan at the base of the rock bin fueled the flames by introducing air into the bin.
The fire spread rapidly and consumed the structure.
A brief statement issued by the owners of the plant referred to the fire as a "minor" incident that would not affect the production schedule.