Firefighters Extinguish Propane Tank On Fire At Penray Automotive Plant On Denniston Ct, Wheeling

Wheeling police and firefighter/paramedics responded about 8:01 AM Thursday to a warehouse with a report of chemical or propane tanks on fire at Penray, 440 Deniston Court Wheeling, IL. Police and firefighter/paramedics received a report of a chemical tank fire, and immediately learned that a fire involved one of the propane tanks (Hazardous Materials placard 1075).

Firefighters immediately set up Wheeling Tower Ladder 24 south of the burning tank at a distance of about 600 feet from the burning tank. The aerial tower from had two firefighters on the platform controlling to master streams on the burning tank. No fire was visible after 8:30 a.m.

Plowing contractors buried fire hydrants in the area, which initially slowed down getting a positive water supply on the fire. However, firefighters worked quickly to discover and dig out the hydrants.

Mark Twain School directly west of the fire scene was locked down, and school children were prevented from being out on the school grounds, although they probably would not have been outside in this weather anyway. There were reports of an evacuation at the school, but buses were seen leaving the school empty. An no evacuation was seen after 8:30 a.m.

The warehouse facility for Avenues to Independence directly north of the fire scene was evacuated. The warehouse provides employment opportunities for people with developmental disabilities. The workers were just arriving in buses when the fire occurred. They were immediately evacuated, and received the day off.

Whitney Camp a supervisor at the Avenues to Independence checked the back door, unaware of the risk that was located just beyond the door. When she opened the door, she was only about 80 feet from the burning tank. She immediately called 9-1-1 and ordered the employees that had already arrived to evacuated to the north -- away from the fire.

Firefighters also used the front parking lot for Avenues to Independence at 444 as one their staging areas for fire attack.

On July 29, 2013, a fire broke out at the Blue Rhino propane in Tavares Florida, which lead to multiple explosions that occurred within an hour and into the early morning of the next day. The plant contained about 53,000 20-pound propane cylinders and multiple large storage tanks a total of seven workers were injured.

The Penray automotive product plant had six tanks together in an array on the north side of their warehouse. Estimated size of the tanks were four 6000 gallon tanks and two 8000 gallon tanks. An explosion or explosions involving those tanks could have been catastrophic.

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