Fire rips through Sibley warehouse

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The cause of a fire at Aeropres Corporation in Sibley remains under investigation.

First responders arrived on scene between 11 and 11:30 a.m., Monday, in reference to a structure fire involving what is believed to be a propane tank building. The Sibley Fire Department, along with the Minden Fire Department, were the initial responding agencies, also calling in for equipment from Dixie Inn, Dubberly, Heflin and Ringgold to help keep tanks surrounding the burning structure cool.

Pafford EMS was on standby in case of any injuries were reported. Bruce Franklin/Press-Herald
Pafford EMS was on standby in case of any injuries were reported. Bruce Franklin/Press-Herald

“We don’t know what caused it,” Minden fire chief Kip Mourad said. “One employee received second degree burns on his hand, and that was the only person injured. He was released from the ER.”

He says the fire is believed to have started in a building where the company conducts refilling of propane and hydrostatic testing.

“There were some small cylinders inside that ruptured, burnt a forklift up and anything else in there,” he said. “They put monitoring nozzles on the big tanks to keep them cool, and the building was a complete loss.”

At the time of the interview, Mourad said there were still some cylinders leaking, and they were keeping water on those to keep the vapors down.

Two homes were evacuated as a safety precaution after a Hazmat technician from the Louisiana State Police arrived. Mourad says the technician set up a perimeter and those homes were included in that perimeter.

Jenny Reynolds, Region 7 coordinator for the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, and John Stanley, director of Webster Parish Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness were on scene to make sure responding agencies had the resources they needed.

Her purpose for being there was to help support the local efforts and the Webster Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness. She also collected information at the scene to report to the state to make sure the information they are receiving is the most accurate.

“Our job is to coordinate with the local agencies and report accurate information to the other state agencies that might have to respond, which in this case, was the Louisiana State Police and the Department of Environmental Quality,” she said.

Trooper Matt Harris, public information officer, says state police Hazmat will begin their investigation as soon as the fire is contained.

“Louisiana State Police hazmat is on scene and are monitoring the situation,” he said. “The fire has been extinguished and the facility is secure.”

Aeropres Corporation is a manufacturer and distributor of high purity gases to a wide variety of markets, according to its website.

“While the aerosol industry is the mainstay of the Aeropres product line, the company also provides high-purity gases for other applications including natural refrigerants and other working fluid applications, foam expansion agents (blowing agents), and for various uses across the chemical industry,” it continues.

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