Fire Temporarily Shuts Down Portion of PPG Plant

A Thursday morning fire at PPG’s Natrium plant has left the plant temporarily closed as officials evaluate the extent of the damage.

The fire was reported just after 7 a.m. at the plant’s facility for the creation calcium hypochlorite, which is used in water treatment applications. PPG spokesman Jeremy Neuhart said the facility was evacuated and the on-site PPG fire brigade responded and extinguished the fire within 30 minutes.

While crews fought to extinguish the blaze, traffic along W.Va. 2 was closed for 20 minutes as a precaution. Neuhart said one employee who responded to the fire was treated for chlorine inhalation at a first aid center at the site and released.

Neuhart said while there are no environmental concerns or health risks stemming from the fire, a fence line monitoring system detected chlorine at low concentration levels. Though the levels are low enough to not present any risks, PPG staff worked Thursday afternoon to conduct off-site precautionary measures. In the meantime, the calcium hypochlorite facility remains closed as officials evaluate the damage and search for a cause of the fire.

“PPG is evaluating the extent of property damage and cannot predict when the facility will resume normal operations,” Neuhart said. No indication was made as to how many of the plant’s more than 500 employees would be affected by the closure.

In addition to PPG’s fire squad, local fire departments in the area responded to the scene as part of a mutual aide agreement. Neuhart said Bayer’s fire team also assisted in extinguishing the fire.