August 16, 2010 1:34:00 PM
Firefighters worked to contain a blaze at the Tronox chemical plant in Hamilton this afternoon, and the fire was out by around 1 p.m. No injuries were reported.
A Monroe County sheriff''s deputy manning the gate to the plant, located off Highway 45, said that hazmat teams were on the scene and the fire was under control this afternoon. Officials with the plant would not comment beyond a recorded statement available by phone at 662-343-2071.
Witnesses said thick black smoke could be seen billowing into the air.
The company''s statement said that the fire started at 11:50 a.m., and all employees and contractors were accounted for by 12:35. The fire was extinguished by 12:55, the company said.
Monroe County Sheriff Andy Hood said that the fire was small, and was handled by the plant''s own fire crews. Monroe County volunteer fire departments provided "water backup," he said.
A receptionist with the Hamilton Volunteer Fire Department said that several volunteer fire departments in the county were dispatched.
An employee of Lackie''s Steak, Fish and Seafood, a restaurant near the plant on Highway 45, said that Tronox employees told her that they and other workers left the plant when they saw smoke. The restaurant employee said she saw at least nine fire trucks pass by on their way to the plant.
The Hamilton Tronox plant, which makes titanium dioxide pigment and sodium chlorate bleach that is used by the pulp and paper industry, employs around 435 people and 160 contractors daily, according to the company''s website. The fire occurred in the sodium chlorate storage facility section of the plant, and the company''s pigment operations weren''t affected, the company statement said.
Check cdispatch.com throughout the day for more on this developing story.