WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (WGHP) — Crews have been battling a blaze at a fertilizer plant in Winston-Salem since 8 p.m. Monday.
People within one mile of Weaver Fertilizer on Cherry Street are being asked to evacuate immediately due to the possibility of an explosion, due to the chemicals present in the fertilizer plant.
About 6000 people live in the evacuated area, and city leaders and other emergency personnel have gone door to door to try and get everyone within a mile of the plant to leave their homes.
North Hills Elementary School is within the evacuation zone and Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools sent a message to parents explaining that North Hills Elementary School will have the option of a remote learning day today. While no other schools in the district are affected, school officials caution to anticipate late busses or other traffic delays.
According to representatives from WS/FCS this is completely optional. Teachers are making individual calls to check on their students. The remote learning will not be synchronous or live, meaning students have the option to do what they can to minimize learning loss and the school’s schedule stays in line with the rest of the district.
The education building at the fairgrounds located at 414 Deacon Boulevard in Winston-Salem has been turned into a shelter for evacuees who don’t have anywhere else to go.
Forsyth Correctional Facility is also located within the evacuation radius, and city officials said that the prisoners and staff have been moved.
Officials have said the fire is so massive that the building has collapsed. Due to a large amount of ammonium nitrate within the plant, access is restricted even for the fire crews.
“We fought the fire for two hours and the fire extended into a rail car behind the structure. Once the railcar became involved we were unable to get water to the location, and has a large explosive hazard,” Battalion Chief Patrick Grubbs with Winston-Salem fire told FOX8.
90 firefighters are working on this fire along with 150 emergency personnel. All of them are working around the clock to contain this.
This will be updated.