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Preventing Hazardous Fires

Updated: Thursday, April 18 2013, 10:28 PM EDT

Fighting hazardous chemical blazes are part of the training for mountain firefighters.


Firefighters in Swannanoa battled a fire ten years ago across the street from their station. The Beacon Blanket Plant fire covered 20 acres and forced the evacuation of 200 people. Firefighters evacuated 200 people in the village because no one knew what chemicals were inside and what was in the smoke-filled air.


As walls collapsed and the old Beacon Plant turned to embers, hazardous material teams found out barrels of chemicals were stored in the plant’s laboratory. Firefighters managed to keep that part of the building from burning. They later found out the chemicals were explosive.


Emergency officials say the lessons they learned there now give firefighters an edge for battling potentially dangerous or explosive blazes. They say fire departments do pre-planning on every business in the community, and know what chemicals they store, and where they are located.


Emergency officials say they know of no large storage of chemicals like those involved in the explosion near Waco, TX. They say they know which businesses have fertilizer and say explosions there are unlikely.

Preventing Hazardous Fires


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