Two treated for injuries after hazmat fire

Grand Junction Fire Department firefighters return from putting out a hazardous materials fire at Pacific Steel and Recycling at 2365 River Road on Wednesday.

Two people were taken to a hospital and 30 employees on duty Wednesday afternoon were evacuated after a hazardous-material fire started in a Grand Junction pipe yard.

Bromine trifluoride, often used in pipes for drilling activity, was inside the pipe that caught fire after it accidentally was cut at Pacific Steel and Recycling, 2365 River Road, Grand Junction Fire Department spokesman Mike Page said.

The department’s hazardous-material team extinguished the fire using silica sand, which commonly is used in sand blasting. Dousing the fire with water would have created an adverse reaction with the chemical, Page said.

Workers noticed the smoke coming from the pipe was changing colors, and two employees got sick and had difficulty breathing near the smoke.

No other nearby businesses in the industrial area were evacuated. The Fire Department received the call at 11:40 a.m. and cleared the scene by 3 p.m., Page said.


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