March 7, 2007 - Posted at 9:25 p.m. CST , updated at 7:05 a.m. CST on March 8, updated 3:36 p.m. CST
BAY, AR -- Updated - A chemical fire that started last night around 6:30 is finally out tonight after it closed down a portion of the town of Bay. The fire broke out in a building being used by an extermination business behind Kirby Constuction off of Highway 463 and burned for more than 15 hours.
The city started to return to normal around 11 a.m. when city officials reopened Highway 463 and allowed those residents who were evacuated to return. The fire was a result of the chemical Phosephane that burned off a tank in a shed. Unlike most fires HazMat was forced to just let it burn because of the chemical and the number of other chemicals in the building.
The city of Bay in Craighead County was effectively shut down as of Wednesday night.
A chemical leak and fire at Kirby Construction in southwest Bay, near the corner of Robinson Street and Highway 463, is the reason. The fire started around 6:30 p.m. Wednesday night.
The fire is still going on at this time and the chemical burning is phosphine. It is commonly used in arc welding. It is a small, but potentially dangerous fire, burning out of the top of a tank.
Emergency officials are reporting that residents within a quarter-mile of the site and currently at home should stay in their residences as a precaution.
However, officials are restricting traffic in the area and are not allowing residents to return to their homes located within the ¼ mile area.
The U.S. Highway 63/64 exit is open, but exit 463 into Bay is closed at this time. Several fire departments and emergency responders from throughout Craighead and neighboring Poinsett County are assisting the Fire and Police departments in Bay with this potentially dangerous situation.
All campuses in the Bay School District are closed today, as well as The Learning Tree Daycare center.