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Monday night, as firefighters fought to put out a blaze at the Weaver Fertilizer Plant in North Carolina, everyone within a mile radius was told to evacuate their homes in fear of an explosion. There have been some small bursts at the plant, city officials have confirmed.
The fertilizer plant has collapsed and access to the materials inside the plant is restricted. Winston-Salem firefighters are concerned there could be a large explosion due to the amount of ammonium nitrate. First responders have “abandoned” the blaze because of the large volume of ammonium nitrate that could cause a large explosion, reports Fire Chief Trey Mayo.
In a briefing early Tuesday morning, Battalion Chief Patrick Grubbs states there are a minimum of 90 firefighters at the fertilizer plant and 150 total personnel. Crews fought the fire for two hours, however, they were not confident they could cool the plant down enough to stop an explosion.
At 8:20 p.m., the 4400 block of Cherry Street from North Point Boulevard to Indiana Avenue was closed down so firefighters could control the combustion at the fertilizer plant. That location remains closed. Emergency crews evacuated 2,497 homes, according to the city of Winston-Salem’s Twitter page. People should plan to be away from their homes for at least 48 hours.
It was 2 a.m. before fire crews left the blaze and began to evacuate homes.
At this time, the cause of the fire is unknown.
INCIDENT UPDATE – Riding through area within 1 mile radius of 4440 Cherry St. alerting residents of fire and evacuation. If you know someone in the area please advise them of hazard. #WSFire .107 pic.twitter.com/Cv6swGS38Z
— Winston-Salem FD (@cityofwsfire) February 1, 2022
Written by Jeanette Vietti
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Featured Image Courtesy of Justin Seabrook-Rocha’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License