Local

Fire damages Occidental Chemicals plant on South Ridge Road

A Wichita fire truck leaves the scene of a fire at Occidental Chemicals on Thursday. (Oct. 8, 2015)
A Wichita fire truck leaves the scene of a fire at Occidental Chemicals on Thursday. (Oct. 8, 2015) The Wichita Eagle

A chemical plant southwest of Wichita sustained damage in a fire Thursday afternoon, officials said.

A fire was reported at the Occidental Chemicals plant in the 6200 block of South Ridge Road around 5 p.m., a Sedgwick County emergency dispatcher said.

Steve Hieger, Occidental’s plant manager, said the fire originated inside a sodium chlorite container and was put out “very, very quickly.”

“The safety systems functioned as designed,” he said. “We’re used to handling hazardous materials. That’s something we train extensively on, and we work with the Sedgwick County Fire Department to do a lot of training and drills. All of that was exercised today.”

No injuries were reported.

Hieger said the fire will have a minimal impact on the plant’s operations, though workers will be busy cleaning up for the next few days.

There is no environmental danger as a result of the fire, he said.

Sodium chlorite is a class-3 oxidizer, which means it is “very volatile,” Hieger said.

“We take extensive measures that we don’t have a fire.

The plant employs just over 300 people.

The cause of the fire has yet to be determined.

Wichita fire crews assisted Sedgwick County fire crews with the fire.

Reach Matt Riedl at 316-268-6660 or mriedl@wichitaeagle.com. Follow him on Twitter: @RiedlMatt.

  Comments