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Fire at Waco Mars candy plant caused by malfunction

(Photo by Stan Parker)
(Photo by Stan Parker)(KWTX)
Published: May. 2, 2017 at 1:26 PM CDT
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A two-alarm fire early Tuesday afternoon at the Waco Mars candy plant that spread to six trailers at the plant’s loading dock and filled parts of the facility with smoke was caused by a malfunction in one of the refrigerated trailers.

The fire broke out at the plant’s loading dock and the flames, fanned by gusty winds, spread to the other trailers, officials said.

There were no reports of injuries.

“A contained fire occurred at our Waco site earlier today. All of our associates are safe and have been accounted for. We are working with local authorities to investigate the cause of the fire and greatly appreciate the quick response and support of the local fire department,” a Mars spokesman said in a statement emailed to KWTX.

Fire units were dispatched at around 1:10 p.m. to a report of a fire in a trailer at a loading dock at the plant at 1001 Texas Central

The first units requested a second alarm.

The fire put a temporary strain on Waco Fire Department resources.

The Robinson Fire Department sent a tanker to the scene to provide additional water and fire departments in surrounding communities were on standby to respond to other calls in the city.

The fire produced heavy black smoke that reduced visibility on nearby roadways.

The plant was evacuated, but by mid-afternoon at least some of the employees re-entered the building, Waco spokesman Larry Holze said.

Holze said the plant itself wasn't affected, although smoke did fill a portion of the building.

Imperial Drive was closed to traffic from Texas Central Parkway to Hewitt Drive.

The plant is near both Midway High School and Midway Middle School

The district sent out an advisory urging parents and residents to avoid the intersection of Mars Drive and Texas Central Texas Parkway as well as all of Imperial Drive.

“Feel free to travel down Mars Dr. from Hewitt Dr., pick up your student(s) and exit from the campus in the same manner in which you arrived,” the advisory said.

Students who ride buses may experience some delays, the district said.

The Waco plant, which employs more than 450, opened in 1976.