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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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Lakeland --- At approximately 7:45 AM, the Lakeland Fire Department (LFD) responded to a structure fire at a residence located at 614 6th Street W, Lakeland, FL. 

 

The home was occupied by owner and sole resident Beverly McChester. The resident was asleep at the time the fire broke out and was fortunately awaken by the smell of smoke, a rare occurrence. The home quickly became consumed by flames but the homeowner was able to escape unharmed through a back door. McChester was then assisted by neighbors in clearing the scene while LFD firefighters quickly arrived and put out the flames.

 

The fire is believed to have started in an unused bedroom of the two bedroom home. LFD’s fire investigators are still investigating the cause of the fire; however there is some indication that it may have been accidental in nature.  The fire caused extensive damage to the home and has been deemed a complete loss by investigators. Red Cross has provided assistance to the homeowner.

 

It was also determined the home did not have a working smoke alarm. This unfortunate incident is a good opportunity to remind residents that a working smoke alarm saves lives by providing ample notice to residents to escape in the rare event of a fire.

 

9 apparatuses and 22 LFD personnel responded to the incident. The scene was cleared by 9:10 AM.

For photos click here. 


Lakeland --- Early Friday, August 16, 2013, at approximately 6:05 AM, the Lakeland Fire Department responded to a residential fire on 1122 N. Vermont Ave. The two story structure, known for being frequented by the area’s homeless, was vacant at the time of the fire. There were no injuries. The fire was fully extinguished by 8:00 AM and rendered the structure a total loss.

 

The fire was reported by a neighbor who called 9-1-1. The fire began on the first floor and involved slightly over 50% of the structure. Investigators found evidence of the fire being intentionally set and the incident remains under investigation.

The Lakeland Fire Department responded with 8 apparatuses and 22 personnel. The fire was contained to the referenced structure with no damage to surrounding structures.

Contact Janel Vasallo at janel.vasallo@lakelandgov.net for more information.