Firefighters spent hours Friday spraying water on the fire at Nexeo Solutions in Garland. Now the concern turns to the runoff and where it ends up.
The chemical plant has hired a cleanup crew to pump out and dispose of the water and remove the potentially contaminated soil. They have blocked off a two-block section of southbound Shiloh Road. A berm, or dam, was also set up in a nearby creek to contain runoff from the firefighting effort.
But environmental experts are trying to assure residents that there is nothing to worry about. The Environmental Protection Agency said air testing detected no threats and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality so far has detected only traces of oil and methanol in the water.
Investigators for Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Garland Fire Marshall are still interviewing Nexeo employees.
A security camera across the street from the plant showed workers were transferring methanol from a truck to a holding tank just before the explosion.
"We still don't have the exact cause yet. We haven't gotten that part yet. But as far as everything else, other than the road being shut down because they're testing the creek, everything else is going to be normal right now," said Merrill Balanciere with the Garland Fire Department.
Balanciere said firefighters used the water cannons to protect the surrounding storage tanks but chose to let the fire largely burn itself out over about a three hour period.
Although some have criticized them for that, officials believe if they would have tried to knock it down faster it could have sent a lot more contaminated water and chemicals into the creek.
"You can put out the fire. You can add water to the fuel and then you'd have 10,000 gallons of fuel and water mixture that you have to dispose of that actually could get into the creek and could get in the drinking water," Balanciere said.
KDFW FOX 4
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