Fresno, CA -- A chemical fire at a California chemical manufacturing plant exploded just as firefighters arrived. The explosion grew the fire to 3-alarms.
Fresno Fire Battalion Chief Todd Tuggle said the fire was reported at 10pm. Shortly after firefighters began fighting the fire, an explosion occurred. After some investigation, it was discovered that the chemical that caught fire was actually a fire retardant design to suppress flames. The chemical is meant to be stored warm, but the machine malfunctioned and overheated the chemical, causing it to catch fire.
"There was a fireball that erupted at them. They described it as a concussion grenade. The sound was enormous. There was an extremely loud explosion that happened in front of them," Tuggle said.
Firefighters needed to be rotated to minimize chemical exposure. The men had to be stripped and hosed down to eliminate exposure. They were stripped down in 39 degree weather.
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