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Thread: Tank fire in Norfolk, Nebraska
12-11-09, 12:32 AM #1
Tank fire in Norfolk, Nebraska
Posted: Thursday, December 10, 2009 8:35 am | Updated: 1:20 pm, Thu Dec 10, 2009.
By Bob Glissmann WORLD-HERALD STAFF WRITER | 0 comments
UPDATED 1 p.m. 12-10-09 - NORFOLK, Neb. - A propane-fueled fire that prompted evacuation of about one-third of Norfolk has been extinguished.
City Administrator Al Roder said the fire at a former dairy plant was put out after crews managed to shut valves that cut off the flow from a 30,000-gallon propane tank.
A large swath of Norfolk was evacuated after the fire broke out around 7 a.m.
Flames billowed out of two pipes adjacent to the 30,000-gallon propane tank at the former Protient plant, 805 Omaha Ave., Roder said.
Fears that the tank itself might explode prompted officials to order the evacuation.
Roder said evacuees weren't immediately being allowed back into their homes and businesses, but a return was expected soon.
About 10,000 people live in the area of south Norfolk that was evacuated, according to Census figures. Norfolk's latest population estimate is nearly 23,000. The city is about 100 miles northwest of Omaha.
The fire first was reported shortly after 7 a.m. Black, rolling smoke could be seen for miles. Bright orange flames shot up from the site of the fire.
The cause wasn't immediately known, but the smell of gas permeated the air near the scene, witnesses said.
There were no reports of injuries.
World-Herald staff writers David Hendee, Nancy Gaarder and Paul Goodsell contributed to this report, which includes material from the World-Herald News Service.
The Omaha (NE) World-HeraldLife is not measured by the breaths we take,its measured by the moments that take our breath away
12-11-09, 12:33 AM #2
UPDATED 10:30 a.m. 12-10-09 - NORFOLK, Neb. -- A large swath of Norfolk was evacuated today after a fire brokeout around 7 a.m. at a former dairy plant.
Flames were coming out of two pipes adjacent to a 30,000-gallon propane tank at the former Protient plant, 702 Omaha Ave., said Norfolk City Administrator Al Roder. Fears that the tank itself would explode prompted officials to order the evacuation.
An estimated 8,000 people who live in the southern part of Norfolk were evacuated, the Norfolk Daily News. Roder said two unmanned fire units were spraying water on the fire because it was too dangerous for crews to get close.
There were no immediate reports of injuries.
Flames were visible for several miles outside of town, witnesses said.
The Nebraska State Patrol says it sent in a specially equipped helicopter to help monitor the fire.
Equipment in the helicopter can transmit aerial views -- both photos and video -- of the fire scene to help responders on the ground see what they're dealing with, said Deb Collins, a State Patrol spokeswoman.
Firefighters initially ordered a half-mile evacuation around the Protient plant, including businesses along Omaha Avenue and the Victorian Inn west of the plant.
The radius of the evacuation then was expanded to one mile.
Emergency officials were going door-to-door to make sure everyone was evacuated.
Roder said the evacuated area was inside an area bordered by Norfolk Avenue on the north, Andy's Lake on the south, Victory Road on the east and 20th Street on the west.
"That constitutes, land-mass-wise, about a third of the city," Roder said.
Several roads in the area have been closed and motorists are urged to avoid the area. U.S. Highway 81 is closed at the Nebraska Highway 32 junction, and U.S. Highway 275 is closed at Nebraska Highway 24.
The Norfolk (NE) Daily NewsLife is not measured by the breaths we take,its measured by the moments that take our breath away
12-11-09, 06:53 AM #3
Emergency responders aced this one as I hear it reported this morning. No injuries, and folks are back in their homes now.
12-11-09, 10:37 AM #4
Glad no one was hurt! Great work by those who helped with the evacuation.
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