Fire at Plastics Plant Sends Toxic Smoke Over North Texas
A plastics plant near Dallas,Texas caught fire midnight Wednesday, sending a column of toxic smoke billowing over North Texas.
The smoke could be seen for miles and was picked up on a weather camera in Denton, about 40 miles away, WFAA reported. No injuries were reported and no evacuations were ordered, but people with underlying medical conditions were warned to avoid the smoke and self-evacuate if needed.
"Anybody with any breathing problems, any asthmatics, I mean it is the combustion from plastic so it's not good to breathe," Grand Prairie Assistant Fire Chief Bill Murphy told CBS Dallas-Fort Worth.
The fire broke out at Poly-America factory in Grand Prairie, which manufactures polyethylene and petroleum-based products such as trash bags, drop cloths, plastic sheeting and vapor barrier film.
Firefighters think the blaze started when a powerline fell on an area where plastic rolls were being stored.
"All of their storage there at Poly-America, for their rolled plastic, is underneath those towers so it ignited the plastic rolls. It just spread to all the inventory that they have back there," Murphy told CBS Dallas-Fort Worth.
TEXAS FIRE: Local media reports a major fire and explosions at the Poly America industrial facility in Grand Prairi… https://t.co/kf5VPU8uVw— NowThis (@NowThis)1597846640.0
Because of the nature of the plastic fuel, firefighters initially thought the fire would burn through Thursday, but they managed to contain it by 4 p.m. Wednesday, The Associated Press reported.
"Plastic is hard to put out and it's just gonna burn," Murphy said.
Another difficulty was train tracks that ran between the firefighters and the factory building, WFAA reported. One train car filled with paint caught fire.
"It was a solid wall of 15-foot flames all night long," Murphy said.
The factory building itself was removed from the fire and not expected to be damaged.
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and Grand Prairie officials said they would continue to monitor air quality, The Associated Press reported.
"The State of Texas is monitoring the industrial fire in Grand Prairie and working closely with local officials and first responders to address safety concerns in the community," Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said in a statement reported by WFAA. "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. 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."
This isn't the first time Poly-America has caught fire. Another blaze 32 years ago took a day to put out.
Texas environmental groups said the fire exemplified the dangers of producing plastics.
"This is a dramatic and frightening example of why we must reduce our dependence on toxic plastics," Texas Campaign for the Environment senior strategy director Corey Troiani told Green Source DFW. "The plastics industry has targeted Texas to expand dangerous facilities like this one to produce more unsustainable single-use products. Incidents like this remind us that we must transition to a cleaner economy and protect our health and environment from plastics. Our hearts go out to the residents of Grand Prairie and neighboring cities who live near this fire."
- Texas Petroleum Chemical Plant Explosion, and Our Petrochemical ... ›
- Formosa Plant May Still Be Releasing Plastic Pollution in Texas ... ›
- Lawsuit Appeals Permit for Formosa Plastics to Build in Louisiana's ... ›
- Second Houston-Area Chemical Plant Fire in Weeks Kills One ... ›
- Texas Residents Urge Rejection of World's Largest Plastics Plant ... ›
By Mark Hertsgaard and Kyle Pope
In this autumn of horrific fires and deadly floods, it's easy to overlook one bit of promising news on the climate front: Some major U.S. media coverage of the crisis is finally getting better.
- Media Avoid Climate Change in Wildfire and Extreme Weather ... ›
- 'Call It a Crisis': Report Details Failure of Cable and Network Outlets ... ›
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Leanna First-Arai
In a push to capture the rural vote, 62 percent of which went to Trump in 2016, both the Trump and Biden campaigns are ramping up efforts to appeal to farmers and ranchers.
- Trump's Post Office Chaos Leads to Deaths of Thousands of Chicks ... ›
- 6 Ways Trump Is Bad for Food, Health and the Environment ... ›
- Angering Organic Farmers and Advocates, Trump's USDA Kills ... ›
California Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order Wednesday that would ban the sale of new cars in California that run only on gasoline by the year 2035. The bid to reduce emissions and combat the climate crisis would make California the first state to ban the sale of new cars with internal combustion engines, according to POLITICO.
- How Norway Convinced Drivers to Switch to Electric Cars - EcoWatch ›
- Amsterdam Plans to Ban All Non-Electric Vehicles by 2030 - EcoWatch ›
- California Won't Buy From Automakers 'on the Wrong Side of History ... ›
- The UK Could Ban Gas and Diesel Car Sales in 12 Years - EcoWatch ›
- Spain Proposes Bill to Ban Gas and Diesel Vehicles - EcoWatch ›
A "trash tsunami" has washed ashore on the beaches of Honduras, endangering both wildlife and the local economy.
More long-finned pilot whales were found stranded today on beaches in Tasmania, Australia. About 500 whales have become stranded, including at least 380 that have died, the AP reported. It is the largest mass stranding in Australia's recorded history.
- Annual Whale Slaughter Still a Tradition on the Faroe Islands ... ›
- Hundreds of Pilot Whales Die in Devastating Mass Stranding in New ... ›