BENTONVILLE, Ark. (KNWA) — Half a million gallons of water were used by fire crews on Wednesday, December 5, to extinguish an industrial fire on E. Central Ave. in Bentonville, according to Bentonville Deputy Fire Chief Kevin Boydston.
“Of the water used, a lot of it turned into steam because of the fire’s heat,” said Boydston.
The fire at United Industries UltraBoard erupted before noon and massive black smoke could be seen from at least 20 miles away because of the type of materials that burned.
The entire fire was contained to private property at 1900 E. Central Avenue, according to Boydston.
The water runoff, generated by extinguishing the fire, is being tested via a two-tiered process to check for any contamination.
Several agencies are working in the cleanup process: Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) are a couple of agencies working on the investigation. The cause has yet to be determined.
It was a compressed gas [tank] that caught fire, not propane. “These things have a pop-off valve and release vapor once it reaches a certain temperature. We had to keep it to 125-degrees, and it only got to 95-degrees,” said Boydston, “so the crews did a good job keeping on top of that.”
Boydston credited the firefighting training out of Little Rock that helped in crews being prepared, properly geared, and efficient in fighting the fire.
On the operation side, there is an ADEQ cleanup plan in place. “We’ve assisted and will continue to monitor the stream for water quality, they’ll [ADEQ] do the cleanup,” said Boydston who feels confident that everything will go according to plan.
He did not say how long the cleanup would take.
“The public’s health and safety is our number concern,” said Boydston.
The city of Bentonville gave an update on the large industrial fire yesterday.
Watch the press conference above.