The city of Winston-Salem is asking residents within a mile of a raging fire at a fertilizer plant to evacuate due to the potential for a large explosion.
NBC affiliate WXII reported that the fire started Monday night at the Weaver Fertilizer Plant on Cherry Street. City officials confirmed small explosions at the plant.
The building has also collapsed and access to the product in the building is limited.
Firefighters said there was a possibility of a large explosion of ammonium nitrate. Winston-Salem Fire Chief Trey Mayo said the fire brigade “abandoned” the firefighting operation because of the large amount of ammonium nitrate on site.
Battalion Commander Patrick Grubbs said at an early-morning news conference Tuesday that he has at least 90 firefighters on the scene, and nearly 150 personnel on the job. Crews at the scene battled the blaze for two hours, but couldn’t get enough water out to be sure they could keep it cool enough to prevent an explosion.
The cause of the fire is unknown.
At around 2 a.m., first responders drove through the area asking residents to evacuate to safety as the threat of an explosion still lingered.
“Don’t wait for something to happen. Something happened. Now is the time to get out,” Mayo said on Twitter.
According to the Winston-Salem Police Department bulletin, the 4400 block on Cherry Street from North Point Avenue to Indiana Avenue was closed while emergency crews responded to the fire at about 8:20 p.m. and remained closed. door.
“The evacuation area around 4440 North Cherry Street has nearly 6500 residents or 2,497 households,” the City of Winston-Salem reported on its Twitter page.
Nearby Wake Forest University issued a statement asking some students in off-campus properties to voluntarily evacuate.
“The evacuation zone does not include on-campus housing, with the exception of Deacon Place, which is within a one-mile evacuation radius,” the school wrote in a warning on its website.
People who have been evacuated should plan to be away from their homes for up to 48 hours.
No injuries have been reported.
https://www.nbcchicago.com/news/national-international/fire-north-carolina-fertilizer-plant-may-cause-explosion-forces-evacuations/2745056/ Fire at NC fertilizer plant Possibly explosive, prompts evacuation by about a mile – NBC Chicago