TARRANT COUNTY (CBSDFW.COM) – A massive fire at a recycling center in Tarrant County shot flames sky high early Friday morning and was still burning into the afternoon.
Clean Solvent Recycling, near the city of Mansfield, went up in flames just after 1 a.m. and caused explosions that rocked a nearby residential area.
After more than five hours firefighters decided to let the blaze at the chemical recycling company burn itself out. The business is a paint and paint thinning recycling facility.
Sheriff’s deputies would not let anyone get close to the property, but a CBS 11 News crew at the scene had a backdrop of trees seeming to glow from the roaring flames that could be seen for miles.
The Tarrant County Fire Marshal said only one person, a caretaker asleep in a separate building, was on property when the fire broke out and was able to escape unharmed.
Firefighters from Mansfield, Everman, Rendon, Crowley, Kennedale and Johnson County all responded to battle the blaze, pumping water from tankers to keep the flames under control and protect nearby homes.
Cell phone video shot by the granddaughter of Ann Aguero showed flames raging from the building. The girl said the explosions were so powerful that the ground shook and the sky filled with plumes of flames and dark smoke.
There were no evacuations, but people nearby were asked to shelter in place and keep their doors and windows closed until the situation was under control. Some residents trying to get to their homes were unable to, because Tarrant County Sheriff’s deputies blocked off some roads in the area.
Aguero told CBS 11 that she had been waiting for nearly six hours to get to her kids and grandkids and was nervous after seeing several explosions. “My daughter called me, or texted me, and said that she kept hearing ‘booms.’ I said ‘just stay inside, I’ll be on my way,’ and I pulled down the road, couldn’t get in and I just saw things exploding up,” she said.
It isn’t known what sparked the fire and explosions because investigators haven’t been able to get inside the building. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has been notified.
The Tarrant County Fire Marshal had hoped the fire would burn itself out by 9:00 a.m., but it was still burning after the lunch hour.