CROYDON, Pa. (MyFoxPhilly ) - Fire crews get a blaze under control at a chemical plant in Bucks County, but a fire police officer who responded to the scene has died, officials said Wednesday morning.
The fire broke out at 3:35 a.m. at the Bristol coatings plant of the Rohm & Haas site now owned by Dow Chemical on State Road (Route 413). That's in the Croydon section of Bristol.
Authorities are telling us that it was a lightning strike that started the fire in two storage tanks.
No injuries were reported initially. But at 7 a.m. officials at the Bristol Fire Department confirmed that a member of their fire police died after suffering a heart attack.
The fire police officer has been identified as Dave Wintz. We're told he left the scene not feeling so well, had the heart attack not long after leaving, and he was rushed to Aria-Torresdale Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
The fire at the chemical plant reached three alarms before crews managed to knock it down and handle it with foam. The flames started to dissipate by 5:13 a.m., and no smoke was visible shortly thereafter.
Hazardous materials crews have been out at the scene dealing with this situation, along with an on-site fire response crew and local fire departments.
SkyFOX over the scene showed the charred remains of the two tanks. It appears the fire blew the lid right off one of the tanks.
In a 6 a.m. news release, Dow identified the burning chemicals as ethyl acetate and butyl acetate . They're used in making acrylic coating products, which go into paints.
Authorities said there is no threat to nearby homes or businesses. The plant is located in a fairly industrial area.
"Material that escaped the tanks is contained in surround dikes with no anticipated impact to the community," Dow's news release stated.
According to Dow, the two chemicals hold a "low-odor threshold." As a precaution, the company says, employees in the building were evacuated.
"We do not anticipate any health impacts to the community," Dow's news release states, adding that odors may persist for a few hours until the materials is removed from the dike.
Schools in Bristol Borough, however, have been closed for Wednesday on account of the chemical plant fire.
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