A large fire in a chemical processing building at the Superior Essex plant in Brownwood ignited combustible liquids Wednesday afternoon, and scorched a railroad tank car filled with the same liquids, before firefighters from multiple departments extinguished the blaze.
Brownwood firefighters extended the ladder on their 100-foot aerial ladder truck to a height of 65 to 75 feet and used it to blast water on the railroad car as well as on the burning building, Fire Chief Eddy Wood said.
No one was injured in the 1 p.m. fire, which prompted the evacuation of the entire plant at 2900 Morris Sheppard Drive and sent thick black smoke billowing from the building.
The cause of the fire had not been determined as of Wednesday afternoon, and Superior Essex will brinig in an industrial expert, Wood said.
Firefighters were dispatched at 1 p.m. and arrived to find the chemical processing building, which is about 50 feet from the main plant, fully involved, Wood said. Railroad cars were on both sides of the building.
Fire trucks and a Lifeguard ambulance entered the property through a gate off of Custer Road.
The fire was contained inside the building but the wind blew flames outside.
“The proper placement of the ladder truck did, in fact, save the fire from catching the railroad tank car on fire along with the main building of the business,” Wood said. “The hard work of all the firefighters also was a major factor that gave us a positive outcome.”
Firefighters remained on the scene for just over three hours.
In addition to Brownwood, fire departments from Bangs, Early, and the Bridge responded. The Brownwood Police Department, sheriff’s office, Lifeguard Ambulance and Community Emergency Response Team also responded.
Superior Essex in Brownwood has about 500 employees and makes copper cable, wire and optical fiber cable for the telecommunication industry.