Crews remain at scene of downtown fire; overpass remains closed

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WACO, Texas (KWTX) Twenty-four hours after fire leveled a building in downtown Waco that housed an agricultural supply business, firefighters remained at the scene to monitor hot spots and the nearby South 17th Street overpass remained closed.

Crews remained at the scene early Tuesday. (Photo by Christy Soto)

Fire officials confirmed that chemicals were still stored in the building and Grones Environmental Services employees were on site cleaning up and testing water quality.

Inspectors from a private company retained by the city are due to inspect the overpass Tuesday afternoon.

The two-alarm fire broke out before dawn Monday in the old Langford Distribution Co. building at South 17th Street and Franklin Avenue.

"It actually got so hot, I felt the heat right here at my truck. And then I started hearing explosions,” said John Porter, who works next door at Jerry’s Tire House.

The fire was contained by around 8:30 a.m., but crews continued to spray a steady stream on the still-smoking rubble from above for several hours.

A hazmat team was dispatched to the fire scene.

The runoff from the water used to douse the flames was checked and was free on toxins.

Firefighters were also monitoring the air quality in the area.

"There was a report of some chemicals inside the building. Throughout the fire, we’ve been monitoring the perimeter and got no real heavy readings of anything of any significance,” Battalion Chief Chris Pechacek said Monday.

The fire caused electrical issues that resulted in power interruptions in the downtown area that affected traffic signals, police said.


The glow of the flames was visible for miles early Monday. (Photo by Christy Soto)
(Photo by Christy Soto)
The South 17th Street overpass adjacent to the building was closed to traffic because of the fire and remained closed early Monday afternoon. (Photo by Bill Gowdy)
The early-morning fire leveled the building. (Waco Fire Dept. photo)