Fire under control at biodiesel facility - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Fire under control at biodiesel facility

STUART, FL (WFLX) - Update, WED 9:30 PM: Firefighters with Martin County Fire Rescue battled a fire at a biodiesel company in Stuart for several hours Wednesday. At one point, the fire was contained; however, following two explosions, it flared up again after 2 p.m. Wednesday.

"A manhole cover was sent flying hundreds of yards," Martin County Sheriff William Snyder said.

Black smoke could be seen billowing into the sky.

Just before 6 p.m., the Martin County Sheriff's Office said the fire was once again under control.

Martin County Bureau Chief of Rescue Daniel Harshburger said four 10,000 gallon tanks of biodiesel caught fire at Viesel Fuel. Power to the area was shut down as a precaution, he said.

"Got heat sensors going off in certain areas of the building. Right now, it also spread to the methanol tank that was adjacent to those four ten thousand biodiesel tanks, so right now we got methanol and biodiesel burning," Chief Harshburger said.

Fire crews used dirt to build a berm around the perimeter of the fire to contain the flames.

"There were children left in the Salerno school and they are being moved out."

The Martin County School District sent this message to parents of Port Salerno Elementary Extended Day and Chorus Students:

Due to a fire in the area, we are taking safety precautions and have evacuated your children to Pinewood Elementary. All students are safe . There is no access to Port Salerno Elementary School at this time. The situation may affect traffic to and from our schools in this area. We are asking that you report directly to Pinewood Elementary located off of Willoughby Boulevard. Should you need to contact Pinewood the phone number is 772-219-1602.

The Indian River State College Chastain Campus at 2400 SE Salerno Road will remain open for classes, the school said. But, it encouraged students to avoid traveling on US 1 to reach school grounds.

Palm Beach County Fire Rescue is among the department's who assisted. So did St. Lucie County which dispatched 2 rescue trucks, an engine and a Battalion Chief.

The owner of a deli across the street from the business said she heard a loud boom and then saw flames when she went outside.She said she got into her car and drove away because she feared more explosions.

According to the company, Viesel Fuel has pioneered the enzyme technology to produce biodiesel from a variety of inexpensive, high FFA feedstocks. On its website it says it services KFC, Mulligans, FAU, IRCC, and American Airlines Arena to name a few.

The sheriff's office said there were no injuries and everyone at the plant and surrounding businesses have been accounted for.

By 6 p.m all roads except Dominica Terrace have reopened.

READ THE STATEMENT OF STU LAMB, VIESEL FUEL LLC

Statement of Stu Lamb, Viesel Fuel LLC

First and foremost, we at Viesel Fuel want to thank Martin County Fire Rescue for their swift action, along with all emergency responders who assisted them.The combination of Fire Rescue's efforts, our fire suppression system, and the quick action by Viesel's employees according to our safety plan worked. There were no injuries, adjacent businesses were notified immediately and the fire was contained.We greatly appreciate the understanding and support of our commerce park neighbors whose business day was interrupted during the fire and thank those who have reached out to us. In the coming days, we plan to work closely with fire officials to identify and address the cause of the fire.

Previously: Firefighters with Martin County Fire Rescue are battling a fire at a biodiesel company in Stuart.

At one point the fire was contained, but following two explosions it flared up again after 2 p.m. Wednesday. "A manhole cover was sent flying hundreds of yards," Martin County Sheriff William Snyder said.

Black smoke could be seen billowing into the sky.

Martin County Bureau Chief of Rescue Daniel Harshburger said four 10,000 gallon tanks of biodiesel caught fire at Viesel Fuel. Power to the area was shut down as a precaution, he said.

"Got heat sensors going off in certain areas of the building. Right now, it also spread to the methanol tank that was adjacent to those four ten thousand biodiesel tanks, so right now we got methanol and biodiesel burning," Chief Harshburger said.

The location is 3041 SE Dominica Terrace.

"We are evacuating several blocks both north and south of Dominica and from Commerce to US 1. All businesses are being evacuated," Sheriff Snyder said. "There were children left in the Salerno school and they are being moved out."

The Martin County School District sent this message to parents of Port Salerno Elementary Extended Day and Chorus Students:

Due to a fire in the area, we are taking safety precautions and have evacuated your children to Pinewood Elementary. All students are safe . There is no access to Port Salerno Elementary School at this time. The situation may affect traffic to and from our schools in this area. We are asking that you report directly to Pinewood Elementary located off of Willoughby Boulevard. Should you need to contact Pinewood the phone number is 772-219-1602.

The Indian River State College Chastain Campus at 2400 SE Salerno Road will remain open for classes, the school said. But, it encouraged students to avoid traveling on US 1 to reach school grounds.

All available resources are being called to help, the sheriff's office said.

Palm Beach County Fire Rescue is among the department's assisting. So is St. Lucie County which has dispatched two rescue trucks, an engine and a Battalion Chief.

The owner of a deli across the street from the business said she heard a loud boom and then saw flames when she went outside. She said she got into her car and drove away because she feared more explosions.

According to the company, Viesel Fuel has pioneered the enzyme technology to produce biodiesel from a variety of inexpensive, high FFA feedstocks. On its website it says it services KFC, Mulligans, FAU, IRCC, and American Airlines Arena to name a few.

The sheriff's office said there were no injuries and everyone at the plant and surrounding businesses have been accounted for.

Traffic on US 1 has been impacted because of the fire. Drivers are urged to avoid the area.

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