N.M Biofuels Plant Fire Results In EvacuationBy: Toni Matthews-El - May 27, 2014
Investigators are still working to determine the cause of a fire at a biofuels facility that nearly led to a catastrophic explosion.
At around 9:00 am on Tuesday morning, a fire was reported at the Rio Valley Biofuels facility near Anthony, N.M.
The fire resulted in large clouds of heavy black smoke rising high into the air.
The dangerous situation led to plant workers being evacuated from the location.
Operations manager Jed Smith believes that the plant’s team of five employees were able to leave the scene prior to suffering any injuries.
Ana County spokesman Jess Williams also said in a statement that there were no known injuries to any of the plant’s workers.
The fire, which is said to have burned for roughly two hours, caused a series of small explosions at the site.
Despite the plant being evacuated, the fire raised concerns of a potential explosion.
Authorities estimated that there were about 350 homes near the plant, residents who would be seriously harmed by a major blast.
County officials moved to declare a hazardous materials emergency and asked residents up to a half a mile away from the plant to evacuate their homes.
Fire crews battled the blaze, which was said to be “basically out” and “smoldering” roughly two and a half hours after the fire was first reported. Several hours after the fire was spotted, the site was being periodically doused with water.
Hours after residents were asked to evacuate their homes, officials told them it was safe to return.
Much of the concern of a major blast was due to the the methanol gas at the facility. The fire provided a terrible threat that fire fighters were luckily able to counteract before the worst could occur.
As of now, County police officials and company officials are unsure what could have caused the fire.
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