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Oklahoma chemical plant explosions force evacuations; no injuries

September 19, 2013|By Molly Hennessy-Fiske

Fire consumed a chemical plant west of Oklahoma City overnight Thursday, forcing evacuations but causing no injuries and leaving surrounding areas unscathed, officials said.

The fire and explosions at Danlin Industries in Thomas, Okla., about 85 miles west of the capital, according to Michael Galloway, Custer County emergency management director.

Gallloway told The Times that the fire started about 10:30 p.m. Wednesday on the west side of the building, although it was unclear what caused the blaze.

About 75 people work at the plant, but the last workers had left at 7:30 p.m., locking the gate, Galloway said.

The plant produces chemicals for the oil and gas industry, including paraffin and friction reducers, he said.

“There’s a lot of hydrocarbons there that caused the fire to be quite hot, which caused the metal building to melt,” Gallloway said.

Authorities evacuated a mile on each side of the plant and several miles north, and firefighters held back in the interest of safety, he said.

“We let it burn,” Galloway said.

Thursday morning the site was still smoldering.

“We’re waiting for the facility to cool down so that we can go in there walk around and see” what may have started the fire, Galloway said, “We’ll have the fire marshal and environmental folks come up here and see how much damage there was.”

He said chemicals burned off with no runoff.

“Nobody got hurt and none of the residues from the chemicals left the site,” he said.

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