Police

Veolia fire prompts AFD response

By The Arkadelphian

GUM SPRINGS — An early morning explosion Monday prompted the response of firefighters to the Clark County Industrial Park.

According to Arkadelphia Fire Chief Jason Hunt, firefighters responded to Veolia’s Gum Springs facility at about 2:27 a.m. Monday, Aug. 1, for a report of an explosion or chemical reaction. Hunt said a worker there reported hearing a “loud pop” before seeing smoke and notifying authorities.

Dispatchers summoned the Gum Springs Volunteer Fire Department to the scene at 2:27 a.m. for a fire inside the plant, then advised the Arkadelphia Fire Department that a chemical reaction had caused the blaze. Both agencies were advised respirators would be needed to work the scene. Five AFD firemen responded to the scene, along with Tate Chanler, director of the Clark County Office of Emergency Management.

Chanler told The Arkadelphian that the fire was contained to a sorting pit where hazardous materials are prepared for incineration. Hunt said AFD personnel were able to contain the blaze by adding sand to the pit. Officials were on scene until 5:40 a.m. There were no injuries reported.

Chanler said the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality will send an inspector to the plant for a trace of the chemicals — including which chemical caused it and where it came from — responsible for the reaction and subsequent fire.

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