Update, 5:20 p.m. CDT: A spokesperson for the Baltimore City Fire Department, Blair Adams, has confirmed that the fire at the Domino Sugar plant started in a storage shed and was spread via conveyor belt inside the facility. The Fire Department’s Twitter account posted at 5:12 p.m. Eastern time updating the public on the fire and confirming that no one was harmed in the blaze.
“Shortly after 3pm, we responded to #DominoSugar for a reported fire,” reads the first of two tweets. “Approaching the scene, heavy fire & smoke was showing through the roof. Once FFs gained entry, fire was showing from a silo that collapsed. Fire made its way on a conveyor belt & traveled midway thru the bldg.”
In the second tweet, Domino employees’ safety is confirmed: “All employees self evacuated & were accounted for w/o injuries. #BCFD remain on the scene with fire showing from the bldg. #BCFD Fire Boat assisted during this 3-alarm to help tackled the fire with additional water supply.”
The American Sugar Refining Group, which owns the Domino plant, also released a statement confirming that all employees are accounted for, and that the factory has halted operations and an investigation into the fire has begun.
“Despite the smoke and the heavy crème brûlée scent,” The Baltimore Sun reports, “Adams said the fire department has no concerns about any air-quality issues.”
Original post, 3:35 p.m. CDT: About 20 minutes ago, I heard what sounded like a million fire trucks zooming past my house in Baltimore, Maryland, sirens at full blast. I stepped outside and smelled acrid smoke wafting through the air, and began praying that, first and foremost, no one was in danger, and second, there wasn’t another chemical factory fire in my heavily industrial neighborhood. I did not think that there was a third option that could crush my heart: the Domino Sugar processing plant is on fire.
The details are still sparse, and we don’t usually do a lot of up-to-the-minute reporting here at The Takeout, but this event is unfolding right in my neighborhood. The fire has been upgraded to a three-alarm blaze, and an evacuation of the plant was ordered, WBAL reports.
“From what we understand, a conveyor belt that is utilized to transport product ended up catching fire through multiple stories of the Domino Sugar plant,” said SkyTeam 11 Capt. Roy Taylor in video taken from the helicopter above the plant. “In turn, it has set a silo, which is on the south side of the plant, on fire.”
City fire boats and multiple crews are currently working to contain the blaze. In addition to the Baltimore facility, Domino Sugar has two other processing plants: one in Yonkers, New York, and one in Chalmette, Louisiana. We’ll update this story as we learn more.