A massive fire broke out this morning at a chemical disposal plant in Eau Claire. Multiple fire departments are on the scene at Waste Research and Reclamation , near Interstate 94, where a boiler exploded this morning, starting the fire. The plant breaks down hazardous industrial chemicals for disposal. No injuries have been reported, but a half mile radius was evacuated because of the risk of chemicals being released into the air. This included local TV station WQOW, which is handling operations from a transmitter site. A hazardous materials team is testing the air quality, and advising those with respiratory problems to stay inside. Township Fire Department's Mark Briske says the fire was deemed too dangerous for firefighters to get too close.

The DNR's Dave Weitz, who was on the scene this morning. said mainly alcohol appears to be burning. According to online records from the Environmental Protection Agency , WRR is a nine acre site, and serves primarily as a reclamation and recycling business for hazardous liquid wastes, fuel blending, and transportation of hazardous waste for incineration or disposal. Waste materials handled include chlorinated and fluorinated solvents and flammable. WRR was a "Superfund site" from 1984 to 1993. The designation is reserved for the country's highest priority waste sites. Weitz says it remains unclear just how drastically air quality is being affected downwind from the blaze. Fire officials said they anticipate fighting this fire throughout the day today and into the day tomorrow.

Dan Lea, Paul Knoff report (1:30 MP3)

Share the News