Ammonium nitrate ‘untouched’ in Winnsboro fertilizer plant fire

Images from Chopper 7 show damage caused by the fire
Aerial view of the damage caused by Tuesday's fire from Chopper 7.
Aerial view of the damage caused by Tuesday's fire from Chopper 7.(KLTV)
Updated: Sep. 27, 2018 at 7:00 PM CDT
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Winnsboro feed store back open
East Texas News at 6.

WINNSBORO, TX (KLTV) - State regulators were in Winnsboro on Thursday looking at the damage caused by a fire at the Valley Feed Mill.

From Chopper 7, we could see several piles of a white chemical. Richard Lenius with Lone Star Hazmat says the white stuff is ammonium nitrate, the same chemical involved in the 2014 explosion in the town of West, Texas.

“I’ve always told everybody that the guys that died in West, Texas on that fire did it for us,” said Lenius. “We learned from their lessons and we learned what not to do here and everybody went home safe.”

Lenius says he was told the facility in Winnsboro contained more ammonium nitrate than the fertilizer facility in West. Although, according to Lenius, in this fire the chemical was “untouched.”

“This facility was storing fertilizer in the appropriate manner,” said Lenius. “The way it was supposed to be stored. The top was covered with a wooden roof with a wooden structure. And that’s what was burning when we arrived, not the fertilizer.”

Upon arrival, crews were concerned about putting water on the fire. Lenius said they weren’t sure if it would make things better or worse. They decided the best thing to do was to let the fire burn itself out and keep everyone back from the scene.

According to Lenius, there was never an explosion at the facility, only a fire. The Valley Feed Mill reopened for business on Thursday. They declined to comment on the incident.

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