Officials ID Cause of Pennsylvania Chemical Plant Fire

February 19, 2020

4 Min Read
Officials ID Cause of Pennsylvania Chemical Plant Fire
Officials said a motor malfunction in a piece of equipment caused a fire at a Pennsylvania chemical plant this week. Image courtesy of Pixabay

Officials determined that a malfunctioning motor on a piece of sulfur scrubbing equipment caused a two-alarm fire at the Atlas Minerals and Chemicals sulfur processing plant in Longswamp Township, PA on Monday, several local news organizations said. 

Crews were called to the facility at about 12:30 p.m. after the blaze ignited in the equipment. The company said the fire started in the scrubbing unit and flames spread to an adjacent holder tank. Several other buildings were also damaged in the incident, but no injuries were logged. 

The Pennsylvania State Police Fire Marshal said an error in the sulfur scrubber’s motor led to the fire, Trooper Janssen Herb told the Reading Eagle. The fire was ruled to be accidental in nature. 

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Atlas Minerals and Chemicals President Frank Hanson said smoke was created during the incident when a plastic part of the scrubber burned. 

“That’s the recirculating tank that keeps the liquid that cycles through the scrubber,” Hanson said in an interview with television news station WFMZ. “It’s made out of plastic and it caught on fire. When plastic burns, it tends to give off a heavy smoke and that’s what people saw.”

Atlas Minerals and Chemicals is a developer and manufacturer of corrosion-resistant construction materials (CCM), Epoxybond brand repair products, industrial compounds, and oxidized asphalts, information the firm’s website said.  

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