Fire breaks out at Bulk Chemical following hazmat situation

PERRY TWP., Pa. (WPVI) -- Firefighters returned to a chemical plant in Berks County where a chemical leak yesterday served as a prelude to a fire on Monday.

The most recent call to Bulk Chemical Incorporated on Mohrsville Road in Perry Township came in a bit before 11 a.m. Monday. Fire crews arrived to find a three-alarm fire tearing through the facility.

That same location was the site of a hazmat incident that prompted the evacuation of nearby residents from their homes Sunday night.

The leak of nitric acid was reported around 7:30 p.m. Sunday. Hazmat crews from Berks and surrounding counties responded to contain and clean up thousands of gallons of nitric acid spewing from a massive storage tank, according to officials on the scene.

The evacuated residents were allowed to return to their homes around 7 a.m. Monday, only to be evacuated once again a few hours later because of the fire.

Among the evacuees is Nancy Widner who lives just a few blocks away from the plant. Widner is one of several people staying at the Shoemakersville Fire House since last night. She hasn't been home since yesterday, but she is grateful for the help and kindness of first responders.

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Hazmat situation prompts evacuations in Berks County: as seen on Action News Mornings, June 10, 2019

"I must have thanked them, everyone, I don't know how many times when they tell us something different because they are volunteers, the fire guys, that are down there and some of them haven't been home either," she said.

The fire has since been extinguished, but the evacuation order remains in effect.

State Department of Environmental Protection officials say the acid was contained to the site. In other words, none of it made it to storm drains or the nearby Schuylkill River.

The investigation continues but officials say they do not suspect foul play was involved in either the leak or the fire.
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