At or around 7:12 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 9, Wharton dispatch received a call reporting a fire at Nan Ya Plastics Company in Wharton.
Local law enforcement, fire departments and medical services were dispatched to FM102 at U.S. HWY 59.
Once making scene, the Wharton Volunteer Fire Department put out a call for mutual aid, leading to nearly 70 firefighters and 15 units arriving to assist.
Firefighters from Wharton, El Campo, East Bernard, Hungerford, Boling, Glen Flora, Midfield, and Needville worked the three-alarm fire until it was contained.
During an update to Wharton City Council on Monday evening, newly appointed Wharton Office of Emergency Management Coordinator Ben Guanajuato stated that despite the high winds, firefighters were able to contain the fire to the company’s “Plant One” structure.
“The management at Nan Ya Plastics has given a lot of praise to the local fire departments here because they were able to save the other structures around it,” Guanajuato said.
No injuries to firefighters or Nan Ya personnel were reported.
Within three hours, the fire was contained, having only one flare up Monday morning.
Five families were relocated on Mattie and Wilkes streets due to the heavy smoke and the odor that it was producing.
Guanajuato said there are no environmental concerns from chemicals or polluted water.
“After speaking with the (Texas Commission on Environmental Quality), they are not concerned with any kind of hazmat or environmental danger to our environment, because (TCEQ) feels like everything was contained,” he said.
He continued, “I did not know that they had a basement that big and that large that could contain that amount of water that was poured into the fire and chemicals, but everything was contained. Nothing leaked out to our river or to our ditches.”
Guanajuato said the fire erupted due to mechanical failure on the first floor, and was fueled by the PVC pellets and oil on the higher levels.
The state fire marshal has agreed with findings of the local investigation.
Councilman Don Mueller inquired about water performance during extinguishing efforts, and was pleased to hear no pressure or supply issues arose.
“There were plenty hydrants and they had a lot of pressure,” Guanajuato said. “(City Public Works) crews were out there working really hard to make sure they had a lot of pressure.”
All fire departments and assisting law enforcement agencies received praise from council members for a best case scenario on a rather bad incident.
Assisting agencies include the Wharton Police Department, Wharton County Sheriff’s Office, Wharton County Pct. 2 Constables Office and Wharton EMS.