February 5, 2013

No injuries in Dalton plant fire (updated 6:50 p.m.)

From Staff Reports

— No one was hurt and there was no major damage after a chemical fire erupted at Harcros Chemicals in Dalton Tuesday afternoon, officials said.

Whitfield County Fire Chief Carl Collins said responders arrived at around 2 p.m. and left by 4:30 p.m. to put out a fire at 3452 Corporate Drive. The fire involved phosphorus acid and toulene but didn’t actually damage the building structure, he said.

Residents within 1,000 feet of the plant were temporarily evacuated as a precaution, and school buses for Valley Point elementary and middle schools and Southeast Whitfield High School were delayed as several roads, including Ga. Highway 41 near the plant, were blocked off.

Collins said firefighters were taking extra precautions at the plant coordinating with the Whitfield County Sheriff’s Office to evacuate nearby residents. He said it appeared there was a problem with either moisture getting into the chemicals or the containers not being properly sealed that caused them to spontaneously combust.

A man who answered the phone at Harcros directed questions to an individual at the company’s corporate office who didn’t immediately return a phone call.

After a toxic spill at a Harcros plant on Phelps Drive off South Dixie Highway in 2007, about 400 employees from nearby plants and residents from at least 10 homes were asked to leave the area. No major injuries were reported then, but two people did seek treatment at Hamilton Medical Center after driving through the area.