Fire departments from three cities were called to the scene of a destructive blaze that set off an explosion around 4 p.m. on Thursday at Chemstar Products in McPherson.
McPherson City Fire Chief T.J.Wyssmann said late Thursday evening that the fire had been extinguished, all plant personnel were accounted for and no one was reported injured.
No chemicals were released or threatened to be released during the blaze and Wyssmann said an evacuation of nearby residents was was never warranted.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation. The Office of the State Fire Marshal for Kansas is assisting with the probe, because of the magnitude of the blaze.
Wyssmann said the damage to the plant at 503 W. Hays St., which manufactures cornstarch-based polymer products, was extensive —possibly more than $2 million.
“I would say its going to range in the millions of dollars in damages,” he said.
Officers of Chemstar were contacted but were unavailable by press time.
McPherson Fire, McPherson EMS, McPherson Police, Galva Fire and Inman Fire were all listed as responders. No first responders were injured combating the blaze.
Firefighters who arrived on the scene battled “heavy smoke and fire shelling” throughout the building, Wyssmann said.
A firefighting unit was pulled out while others knocked down the fire with a “massive aerial stream” of water. He said firefighters then regrouped for another attack on the blaze inside the building and eventually managed to get it under control around 5 p.m.
“At this time the plant is completely off,” he said. “There is no power and no gas. We expect it will be down for several weeks...or months.”
Wyssmann said fire crews remained on hand until Friday morning checking for any remaining hot spots.