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May 18, 2012 8:06 PM

Hazardous materials ignite industrial fire on south side

TUCSON - Tucson Fire crews and a Hazardous Materials Response Team extinguished an industrial fire on Tucson's south side today after an asphalt emulsion tank was overfilled and the spillage ignited.

Yesterday, crews at Western Emulsions, located in the 3400 block of E. 36th St. accidentally overfilled an 18,000-gallon, double-walled, insulted tank with asphalt emulsion, according to a news release from the City of Tucson. The overflow went over the side of the 30-foot tall tank, but also spilled between the inner and outer steel walls.

Today, the spillage on the side of the tank ignited, and the emulsion between the two walls of the tank also caught fire, city officials stated. TFD crews arrived at about 12:06 p.m. and extinguished the fire outside the tank, but were unsure how to extinguish the fire burning between the tank's two steel plates.

TFD crews consulted with a Hazardous Materials Response Team and representatives from Western Emulsion and decided to pry open the weather cap at the top of the tank, and flood the space between the inner and outer shells.

The fire was extinguished and under control before radiant heat could affect the nearby tanks, city officials said. The scene was cleared at about 2:57 p.m. today. The cause of the ignition is still under investigation.

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