Firefighters from several local departments extinguished a fire in the energy center of Valero Renewables ethanol plant in Bloomingburg Tuesday morning.
Following a report of the fire at around 5:30 a.m., firefighters responded and found black smoke coming from a smoke stack, as well as employees attempting to cool a thermal oxidizer inside the structure, located at 3979 State Route 238, according to the Washington C.H. Fire Department. A thermal oxidizer is a process unit for air pollution control that decomposes hazardous gases at a high temperature and releases them into the atmosphere.
Valero staff members told Washington C.H. firefighters that when the incident occurred, the unit was shut off and cooling down to allow workers to service it, according to reports. Firefighters then established a water supply and deployed handlines to continue cooling the exterior of the unit. Once an acceptable temperature was reached, firefighters opened the access hatches in the duct-work and extinguished the fire inside the unit, according to reports.
The fire was contained to the thermal oxidizer and the surrounding duct-work. After the fire was under control at around 8:30 a.m., some firefighters remained on the scene to cool “hot spots” found in several areas of the unit. Valero staff also monitored the unit throughout the day to check for hot spots, reports said.
Along with the Washington Fire Department, firefighters from Jefferson Township, Concord-Greene, Bloomingburg and Pic-A-Fay departments also assisted.