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.
Crews are on defensive mode working to contain the fire that started due to high-tension power lines falling into the plastic inventory. No reports of injuries. Persons with underlying conditions should avoid the area. No official evacuations. Hwy 161 PGBT is shut down. https://t.co/7riYpRLu2r— Grand Prairie Fire (@GPTXFire) August 19, 2020
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.
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.
Grand Prairie Fire says power line fell onto rolls of plastic, starting the fire. Crews from Dallas, Irving, Cedar Hill, DFW Airport helping. No one hurt & people are watching from a park nearby. “I could have walked up and touched the fire. It’s hot.” pic.twitter.com/tO2kyj23bC— Alan Scaia (@scaia) August 19, 2020
This is a developing story.
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