Dramatic recording reflects intensity of Waxahachie fire



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Posted on October 5, 2011 at 6:23 PM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 5 at 6:35 PM

Magnablend fire location

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WAXAHACHIE — More than 48 hours after toxic chemicals caught fire, a Waxahachie plant was still smoldering Wednesday evening; you can still smell it in the air.

For the first time, we are experiencing what it was like for firefighters just moments before fast-moving flames enveloped their ladder truck.

On a recording of emergency communications, you can hear Waxahachie calling in backup from nearby towns and trying to manage a limited amount of water.

The real drama emerges about 50 minutes after the initial call when it becomes clear to firefighters that their truck is suddenly in danger.

"We've got leaking fluids and I think we're about to lose a truck here," one firefighter reports via radio.

Flammable liquids from inside the Magnablend plant were leaking out of the building and onto the driveway where a ladder truck is parked.

In less than two minutes, the situation is out of control, and the same firefighter requests an evacuation from a commander who wants him to hold his position.

Firefighter: "Evacuate!"

Commander: "There is no evacuating your end for any reason."

Firefighter: "We have burning fluids coming towards the apparatus!"

Commander: "10-4."

Seconds later, the truck disappears into the arms of the flames. The firefighters all escaped with their lives.

Late Wednesday afternoon, the Environmental Protection Agency continued to monitor the air surrounding the Magnablend plant, saying the quality is good.

The EPA has just released some of the technical details of its air and ground samples. The agency is working with state and local officials to release the information to concerned parties in Waxahachie.

E-mail dschechter@wfaa.com