News for North Texas
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Fire Crews Extinguish Massive Blaze At Grand Prairie Plastics Factory

A 3-alarm fire at a plastics factory in Grand Prairie has been extinguished and environmental agencies are monitoring the area around the site.

Fire crews put out the fire around 7 p.m. Wednesday night, but were still monitoring the area for any other spot fires. Meanwhile, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is keeping an eye on air quality.

"As of 12:45 pm yesterday (Wednesday), the TCEQ's air monitoring had not detected any immediate health concerns at ground level,” Brian McGovern, an agency spokesman, said. 

He said agency staff will continue to monitor the site as it's cleaned up.

The Environmental Protection Agency has also deployed airborne technology to fly over the area and test air quality.

Officials with the Grand Prairie Fire Department noted that today is also an ozone action day. That means ground-level ozone is forecast to be unhealthy. They recommend reducing exposure to outdoor air, especially those with respiratory ailments.

The fire at the Poly-America factory in the 2000 block of West Marshall Drive began around midnight on Tuesday when a powerline fell onto plastic sheeting.

A railroad car near the warehouse also caught fire. Firefighters attempted to prevent other railroad cars in the area from burning, as well as a lumberyard west of the warehouse. 

08182020-grand_prairie_fire-kc-1.jpg
Credit Keren Carrion / KERA News
/
KERA News
People crowd around to take photos of the fire in Grand Prairie this morning, on Wednesday, August 19, 2020.

Gov. Greg Abbott said in a statement on Wednesday that the state was working with local officials and first responders to monitor the fire and address safety concerns.

"The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and Grand Prairie officials are continually checking air quality conditions and the State will provide any necessary resources to the area,” he said in the statement. “I ask Texans in the Grand Prairie community to heed the guidance of local officials and pray for the safety of the first responders combating the fire."

Assistant Fire Chief Bill Murphy gave an update around 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, saying the fire was mostly contained.

"It was a solid wall of about 15 foot flames all night long," Murphy said. "It's calmed down quite a bit."

But Murphy said the plastics inside the facility wouldn't burn out easily.

"It's like one big candle," he said.

The Grand Prairie Fire Department said electricity's been shut off in the area because more of the power lines hanging over President George Bush Turnpike are likely to collapse under the heat of the flames.

Fire officials, worried the powerlines could fall on the freeway, initially closed President George Bush Turnpike as a precaution. It's now open but Great Southwest Parkway is still closed in both directions between Marshall and Timberlake.

First responders enlisted help from fire crews from Irving, Dallas, Cedar Hill and Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.

According to their website, Poly-America is the largest manufacturer of garbage bags and polyethylene construction film in the state.

This is a developing story.

Got a tip? Email Rebekah Morr at rmorr@kera.org. You can follow her on Twitter @bekah_morr.

KERA News is made possible through the generosity of our members. If you find this reporting valuable, consider making a tax-deductible gift today. Thank you.