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Plane Crash Leads to Structure Fire; Explosive Chemicals Inside

 Lakeland, FL- At approximately 9:20 AM a call came for a structure fire at Key Safety Systems, 5300 Allen K Breed Hwy, Lakeland, FL. Reports also came in of a plane in distress from local witnesses.

Upon arriving Lakeland Fire Department (LFD) firefighters encountered a fully engulfed building. Crews were quickly made aware of potentially explosive chemicals being stored in the warehouse space, a former plastics warehouse. Being a storage facility with no people inside, crews attacked the fire from the exterior with no firefighters entering due to the potential safety risks to firefighters.

The fire contained by crews within approximately one and half hours. Inside were chemicals Nitrogaunidine and Powdered Aluminum.

Nitorguanidine must be kept wet or it will become potentially explosive. These chemicals were stored by Key Safety Systems for the manufacturing of airbag systems in vehicles. Due to the risk to of the chemicals exploding firefighters did not enter until the fire was contained. Polk County Fire Rescue’s Hazardous Materials Team was called to assist and upon fire being extinguished team entered the structure to survey the site and perform reconnaissance of the chemicals.

It has been confirmed that the fire started due to a plane crash at the scene. There were two passengers on board. The plane belonged to local flight school Tail Wheels inc. based out of Lakeland Linder Regional Airport. It was a Piper Apache A23 plane, tail # 465JA.

Since extinguishing the fire, water has continued to be applied to the site via unmanned, remote controlled equipment to stabilize the chemicals inside and keep temperatures down. Crews are now undergoing the methodical tasks of keeping the temperatures down and inspecting each individual unit of uncompromised Nitorguanidine and Powdered Aluminum. Crews are checking temperatures and ensuring they are no longer a risks before allowing Lakeland Police Crime Scene Investigators in to investigate. ACT Environmental has been called on scene to remove the chemicals and will do so once the scene is investigated and cleared.

Upon cursory inspections of the warehouse there are no airplane parts or victims to recover. It is suspected that this is due to the high temperature at which the chemical fueled fire burned. Once able to be allowed in LPD Crime Scene investigators will be able to investigate and confirm any findings.

At time of this media release LFD crews are still on scene performing overhaul of the structure and contents inside.

This occurred in a primarily industrial are so there is no risks to any nearby residents or commuters. The property is surrounded by additional warehouse space and pasture land.

This will likely continue this through the rest of the day. If anything new develops it will be shared via Lakeland Fire Department’s Twitter, Facebook, and Website pages as well as via email to media outlets.

 

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Learn more about Station 7 here. 

Bringing in the New Year with a New Fire Station

 Lakeland, FL The Lakeland Fire Department’s (LFD) newly constructed and much anticipated Fire Station 7 will be operational with Firefighters providing service from the new location by the second week of January 2015.

The new fire station has been under construction since late fall 2013. It is now nearly complete, with final details being addressed by City of Lakeland partners and contractors. An official grand opening ceremony will be held on Friday, January 16, 2015 at 11:00 AM. Media, community members, and public officials will be asked to join LFD to celebrate this exciting new addition to the City of Lakeland that will help better serve the community.

The new fire station will serve dual purposes, as a community fire station serving the southwest Lakeland community and as an Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting (ARFF) station for the Lakeland Linder Regional Airport.

Assistant Fire Chief Rick Hartzog, who has served as the fire department’s project manager for the new station, explains “We are very excited to be able to provide service from the new station. The new Fire Station 7 is a one of a kind structure that is designed with the future in mind while meeting the needs of today and we are ecstatic to get to share that with our community.”

Although the construction of the new Station 7 is just nearly complete, service to the Southwest quadrant of the Lakeland community has been provided from a temporary Fire Station 7 since early 2013 and service to the Lakeland Linder Regional Airport since 2006. The move from the temporary station to the new station prior to the grand opening ceremony on January 16, 2015 will not disturb regular service to the area in any way.

The media is invited for an exclusive look at the new fire station on January 16, 2015 from 9:30 AM to 10:30 AM prior to the official ceremony beginning. Officials will be on hand for interviews.

 


The Lakeland Fire Department will conduct the official groundbreaking ceremony for Fire Station 7 on Monday, November 18th at 1:30 p.m.  The physical location of Station 7 is 3150 Drane Field Road.

The current station is housed in a temporary facility at the Lakeland Linder Regional Airport until the new state of the art fire station is ushered in by late 2014. The building will stand out compared to the department’s other stations due to its modern and environmentally conscious design.  Once the facility is built it will house the recently purchased Fire Engine 71, the two ARFF units, a heavy rescue vehicle and nine personnel on a 24-hour rotation. 

Lakeland Fire Chief Gary Ballard said, “Our design team has developed a station that will meet the safety needs of the airport, the needs of our residents and the commercial development around the airport.” He added, “We are very eager to start providing much needed service to the citizens in Southwest Lakeland with the new permanent facility.”

The construction costs associated with Station 7 are $3.5 million.  The station once built will be 15,900 sq.ft. and it will house five bays and four fire fighting vehicles.  The station is estimated to be completed November 2014 and it is being funded through City of Lakeland Public Improvement Funds and FDOT Grant funds.

The public is welcome to attend the groundbreaking ceremony, marking a historic event for the Lakeland Fire Department.