Fertilizer Fire At Texas Farm Supply Allowed To Burn Itself Out

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ATHENS (May 30, 2014) A fertilizer fire at a farm supply business in Athens was being allowed to burn itself out Friday morning, but an evacuation order remained in effect.

The fire is contained, Fire Chief John McQueary said.

A four- to five-block area was cordoned off because of the fire, which broke out at around 6 p.m. Thursday at the East Texas Ag Supply lot in downtown Athens, sending flames 60 feet in to the air.

About 300 to 350 residents were affected, Mayor Jerry Don Vaught said.

Friday the evacuation zone was reduced to a one block area surrounding 105 W. Larkin, Street, the Texas Fire Marshal’s Office said.

Residents with such health conditions as asthma, pulmonary disease, or heart disease, were advised to take precautions because of the smoke that remained in the air Friday.

County offices surrounding the courthouse were closed Friday and the Old Fiddler’s Reunion on the square was delayed until further notice, officials said.

City Hall remained open.

Tons of ammonium nitrate is typically stored at the business, the Athens Daily Review reported, but there was no explosion.

On April 17, 2013 in West, tons of ammonium nitrate exploded after fire broke out at West Fertilizer Co., killing 15, injuring more than 200, and destroying or damaging scores of homes and buildings including three of the town’s four schools.