Workers mixing acid caused an explosion and fire at the Trinity Highway Products plant Sunday night.
The top of the structure was ablaze at 8:20 p.m. when firefighters arrived at 600 Prosperity Drive in the Orangeburg County, SC, Industrial Park.
“We had to hit it quick or we were going to lose it,” said Orangeburg Department of Public Safety Lt. Anthony Robinson.
It took almost two hours before the firefighters were able to extinguish the blaze. They used foam to fight the fire.
As a precaution, officials evacuated local plants within a half-mile radius of Trinity Highway Products during the fire.
No one was injured in the incident.
On the positive side, Robinson said the building is not a total loss. However, there was significant damage.
“Only one employee was on site at the time,” said Trinity Highway Products spokesman Jack Todd. “The cause of the fire is under investigation.”
The fire occurred when, “(workers) were mixing something and something exploded,” Robinson said.
“There were two big vats full of acid and some water,” Robinson said.
Firefighters responded to the scene from the Orangeburg County Fire District and the Rowesville, Cattle Creek, Jamison, Branchville and Canaan fire departments.
In addition, the Orangeburg County Office of Emergency Services and Orangeburg County Emergency Medical Services responded.
Hazardous materials teams from Orangeburg County and the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control inspected the area to ensure the acid and any other chemicals were contained to the site of the fire.
HazMat crews also conducted air surveys.
“Nothing actively was released other than the smoke,” Robinson said.
The Orangeburg facility employs 56 people making highway guardrails and component parts, plus safety end treatments, according to the Orangeburg County Development Commission website.
Trinity Highway Products LLC., headquartered in Dallas, TX, is a manufacturer of highway guardrails, guardrail end treatments, temporary and permanent crash cushions, truck-mounted attenuators and cable barrier systems.