OMAHA, Neb. — 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 had been reported, according to KETV.
Battalion Chief Scott Fitzpatrick said the first call for help came shortly before 7 p.m.
Fitzpatrick said firefighters first struggled to access the fire, then realized it was bigger than first thought and pulled back knowing there were chemicals and propane bottles on site.
According to its website, Nox-Crete makes form coating and deactivator, liquid floor hardeners, joint fillers, curing and sealing compounds and water repellents. The company had not yet released a statement.
KETV reports that explosions could be seen as part of the building collapsed and ruptured propane containers.
Omaha firefighters estimated it would be hours before the fire could be controlled.
Those living nearby were initially encouraged to shelter in place, but an alert just before 9 p.m. urged residents between 13th and 20th, Leavenworth to Martha to evacuate. Those who could not evacuate were urged to stay inside with the windows closed.
Pottawattamie County Emergency Management says the smoke poses no toxicity risks.
Omaha Public Power District said more than 2,500 customers were without electricity in the neighborhoods near the fire.