Fire at Baze

Fire damage from Saturday's blaze could not be seen from the road on Sunday. Pictured above is the company's administrative building. 

Baze Chemical, 2187 F.M. 323, released a statement Tuesday, Oct. 27 about the plant fire that occurred over the weekend on.

The fire at Baze Chemical Plant was called in at approximately 10:30 p.m. with Palestine Fire being the first responders on the scene, followed by 84 East Volunteer Department.

In the statement, the company apologizes to anyone who was inconvenienced by the fire.

“Baze Chemical extends its apologies to those who were forced to evacuate their homes. The fire was not the result of human error and the plant is staffed and monitored 24 hours per day. The fire detection systems built into the plant worked perfectly. We will issue additional press releases as information becomes available. The safety of our workers, the first responders and the community is our top priority. Baze Chemical sincerely thanks the City of Palestine and the Palestine Fire Department for the contribution in responding and extinguishing the fire.”

According to Baze, the fire originated in a hot box commonly used in the chemical industry, which was designed and purchased from a certified manufacturer for the purpose of heating the content of drums requiring temperature above ambient for liquefaction.

There were three operators at the plant at the time of the fire that informed Jackson that the chemical in question was a liquid form of isobutryl chloride, a room temperature corrosive, colorless liquid.

In its statement, the company reported that the fire was extinguished in half-an-hour.

Baze said that all chemicals used at its facility are documented with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and additionally, some categories are also registered with the EPA.

“For the safety of our employees and the community, the chemicals we use and manufacture are registered with all the companies that provide around the clock product safety information. The industry protocol for a fire at a chemical plant is to classify a fire based upon the most hazardous chemical used in the manufacturing process. This protocol was followed and an evacuation order issued for homes within one half mile of the plant, even though the fire was contained to the hot box. Other than normal combustion products similar to burning natural gas or oil, no chemicals were discharged into the air or on the ground.

Baze said all operations at the plant are shut down, and will continue to be closed pending repairs and the inspection of the entire facility.

Baze Chemical, a ALKoxylation plant, producing chemicals for the oil and gas industry, mining industry, and water treatment industries, is located inside the former Calhoun Packing Plant facility.

Twenty-seven fire units responded from 10 different agencies, as well as the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department, State Troopers and Emergency Management Coordinators for the city and county.

Over 11,000 gallons of water were used between all the trucks to put out the fire.

All firefighters were decontaminated and vitals were taken before they were allowed to leave the scene.

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