Officials worry fire involves chemicals

Published 09/12 2013 09:51AM

Updated 09/17 2013 11:59AM

Latest: 6:02 pm, 9/13/13, Friday
PIPER CITY -- The State Fire Marshal is investigating the cause of a fire. It happened Thursday at Precision Soya.

Part of town was evacuated when crews thought it was a chemical fire. It turned out to be just a structural fire. No one was hurt.

The product inside the plant was contained. Crews expect to know more within the week.
Latest: 6:04 pm, 9/12/13, Thursday
PIPER CITY -- A scary moment for residents as part of town was evacuated when crews thought there was a chemical reaction at Precision Soya. It turns out, it was a structural fire and no one was hurt. But, WCIA-3's Jillian Deam explains why crews weren't taking any chances with people's safety.

Road crews, officers and firefighters were all warning people to get back.

"You're in a hot zone."

It's not how people here expected to start their day. But, officials say it was a precaution that was necessary after a fire started about 6:30 am Thursday.

"We decided this was more than a volunteer fire department could handle."

Piper City Fire Chief Tony Lane says crews originally thought it was a chemical reaction.

"With a fire department, you always want to use water. Well, this is one of those chemicals where you can not use water."

When crews arrived, the neighborhood was immediately evacuated. Across the street, Tri-Point Elementary and Junior High were evacuated as well, just in case there were any chemical fumes in the area.

"We were afraid to go outside. We didn't know if there were toxic smells that were supposed to hurt you."

It was alarming news for parents like Sharon Mogged whose son, Bobby, had to stay home from school.

"It was a little crazy because parents really didn't know what was going on."

But, a hazmat team helped determine it was not a chemical issue. It was a structural fire. The product inside was contained and there was no chemical threat to people living in the area. Still, Sharon says she's glad to know crews were ready.

"For the safety of the kids at the school, that was a good thing."

And, being extra cautious just in case. There's no word on the cause of the fire or extent or cost of damage.
Update: 4:23 pm, 9/12/13, Thursday
PIPER CITY -- It was a scary morning for people in town. Some residents were evacuated after crews thought there was a chemical reaction at Precision Soya.

It turns out, it was a structural fire and everyone is OK, but crews didn't know that at first. IDOT blocked some of the roads leading into town.

A neighborhood across the street was evacuated as a precaution and school was canceled at Tri-Point Junior High. A hazmat team helped determine there was no chemical threat to anyone.

Authorities are still investigating a cause.
Original: 7:30 am, 9/12/13, Thursday
PIPER CITY -- The school district has been evacuated Thursday morning after a chemical fire at the Precision Soya Plant. Jillian Deam has more from the scene.

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