On Monday, August 24, 2020, a fire at Carolina Poly in South Carolina could be seen for miles after the blaze started in a scrapyard around multiple large storage areas. Five firefighters were taken to the hospital -- four were treated for heat exhaustion, one sprained an ankle, but all five were released from the hospital.
The fire ignited wooden pallets holding plastic materials as well as truck tires. It also destroyed dozens of tractor-trailers parked outside of the plant.
The plant was evacuated, but people in the surrounding area were allowed to stay in their homes. According to the EPA and South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, via reporter Greg Suskin, tests showed no signs of air or water contamination. Though residents were warned to clear away from any areas where they detected burning plastic odors.
According to a report from CN2 News, about 100 workers were told by supervisors to stay in a nearby parking lot and were unable to leave for hours. According to CN2, workers spent about 7.5 hours in their cars, and supervisors told them that they would be penalized for leaving the lot.
According to local news reports, emergency personnel used bulldozers to cut a firebreak so the blaze would spread to the company's plant or nearby woods.
Firefighters made sure it didn't jump the line into the evening. On Tuesday morning, crews were still battling hot spots.
Carolina Poly, a Poly-America subsidiary, is located in a new 500,000 square-foot manufacturing facility that manufactures polyethylene products, including trash bags and construction films. Poly-America one of the largest polyethylene film manufacturers in the U.S.
The fire came a little less than a week after another large fire burned at a Poly-America manufacturing plant in Grand Prairie, Texas on Wednesday, August 19. Initially, power line failures were blamed for the blaze which firefighters fought for 23 hours, but according to the Star-Telegram, both fires face increased scrutiny.
Special agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives have been sent to support the investigations in both Texas and South Carolina.