At 0822 this morning the Beverly Fire Department received a call for smoke coming from a door of a chemical storage unit on the property of 150 Sohier Rd. Truck 1, Truck 2, Engine 3 and Captain Russell Halloran were dispatched to investigate.
Upon arrival, Captain Halloran observed smoke coming from the container and advised his responding crews to stand by at a safe distance until proper identification of the material stored in the container and the hazards they presented could be determined. Once it was determined safe to do so, apparatus was brought closer to the scene and firefighters further investigated for a source of the smoke.
Crews working in close coordination with CPI employees were able to gain access to the storage unit and use a hose line to extinguish burning materials that were stored inside the container. In addition to a solution of Potassium Permanganate, rags and buckets used for clean up were stored in the container. The fire involved the rags and a bucket. At no time were the containers of the stored chemical involved in the fire.
Beverly Fire Lieutenant Matthew Kowalski, also a Technician on the State Hazardous Materials Team arrived on Truck 2 shortly after Halloran and made entry into the container with his crew to fully extinguish the fire.
The fire was investigated by Beverly Fire Investigator Captain Jeff Sirois, also a member of the State Hazardous Materials Team. It was determined that improper storage of rags used to clean up solution of potassium permanganate caused the rags to ignite, in turn igniting a plastic bucket. Damage was minimal and confined to the storage container itself.
The container is owned by Shaw Environmental but kept on the property for ongoing operations at that site. It had two fire suppression systems installed including a dry chemical system that activated keeping the fire from intensifying before firefighters arrived and a sprinkler system that did not activate because the fire did not get hot enough to activate a sprinkler head.
Crews from Manchester, Danvers and Salem covered Beverly stations while the incident played out.