2 firefighters among 8 reported injured from Warsaw chemical fire, home evacuation lifted

IndustriesAssociated Press

A fire Friday at a northern Indiana chemical plant left eight people, including two firefighters, injured, officials said.

Lt. Kip Shuter of the Warsaw Police Department said five Warsaw City Waste Water Treatment workers and two firefighters complained of burning eyes and lungs after responding to the fire at the Warsaw Chemical plant. One Warsaw Chemical employee is also being treated for burns on his hands.

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Officials responded to the plant located about 40 miles southeast of South Bend around 11 a.m. after reports of a fire in the storage building behind the main facility.

Shuter said the building was used to manufacture, mix and store the chemicals used to make car-washing products. The wastewater treatment workers were attempting to reduce the amount of run-off water going into the ground when their eyes and lungs began to burn.

The wastewater treatment workers and two firefighters were decontaminated at the scene and sent to a hospital for further decontamination and treatment.

It took about three hours to fully extinguish the fire, during which some 50 homes and businesses within 1,000 feet of the plant were evacuated. The evacuation was lifted around 3:30 p.m.

Shuter said a cleanup company out of Fort Wayne is working to contain the chemicals that were released during fire. The Indiana Department of Environmental Management was also brought in to determine how much runoff went into the nearby lake.