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A fire started around 5 p.m. on July 30 after rolls of polystyrene foam ignited at a warehouse in Wenatchee, Wash., according to The Wenatchee World.
Firefighters rushed to the scene to put out the flames. Aside from the initial damage, which consisted of a few burnt packaging rolls, the Dolco Packaging plant escaped further catastrophe. It was up and running a few short hours after the fire, according to the building manager. No one was reportedly injured.
Polystyrene is one of the most widely featured plastics in the world and several billion pounds are used per year. Dolco uses polystyrene to make packaging materials including egg cartons and fruit trays. It can be extremely dangerous when in contact with flammable materials given that it burns rapidly and produces large quantities of soot.
Workers at the plant credit their internal fire alarm system and the firefighters' tireless efforts in preventing the fire from spreading.
"The fire department did really well," said Larry Pearson, manager of the plant. "Our fire-suppressive system worked really well."
Pearson speculated that the fire may have started due to sparks generated by the static electricity caused by the polystyrene. He said these types of small fires are not that uncommon in the industry.
After the fire alarm control system rang and the authorities were notified, fire department crews from Wenatchee Valley region responded. They remained on the premises for several hours to clear the building of smoke and charge the building's sprinkler system.
Wenatchee Fire Chief Stan Smoke told reporters that most of their equipment remained on the property as a precautionary measure, but was ultimately not necessary in putting out the fire.
Industrial Safety News brought to you by Safety Systems Technology, Inc., leaders in fire and gas detection.