Residents evacuate as fire rages at Omaha chemical company

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OMAHA, Neb. (TAUT) — A fire raged through a chemical company Monday night just southwest of downtown Omaha, forcing some nearby residents to evacuate and leaving thousands without power.

Thick smoke billowed from the Nox-Crete facility, but no injuries were reported, according to KETV.

Battalion Chief Scott Fitzpatrick said the first call for help came shortly before 7 p.m.

Fitzpatrick said firefighters initially had difficulty getting to the fire, then realized it was bigger than expected and retreated knowing there were chemicals and propane cylinders on site .

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According to its website, Nox-Crete manufactures form sealers and deactivators, liquid floor hardeners, joint fillers, curing and sealing compounds, and water repellents. The company had yet to issue a statement.

KETV reports explosions could be seen as part of the building collapsed and ruptured propane containers.

Omaha firefighters estimated it would take hours before the blaze could be brought under control.

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People living nearby were initially encouraged to shelter in place, but an alert just before 9pm urged residents between the 13th and 20th, Leavenworth to Martha to evacuate. Those unable to evacuate were asked to stay indoors with the windows closed.

Pottawattamie County Emergency Management says the smoke poses no toxicity risk.

The Omaha Public Power District said more than 2,500 customers were without power in neighborhoods near the fire.

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