Officials investigate cause of Adams chemical plant fire


Officials are working to determine the cause of a massive fire that raged for hours at a Hanover-area chemical plant.

The blaze broke out around 3:30 a.m. Monday at Miller Chemical and Fertilizer in Conewago Township, Adams County, just outside of Hanover.

Firefighters, including those from several York County fire departments, were sent to the scene.

For part of the day, firefighters let the blaze continue in a controlled burn as they evaluated conditions and came up with a plan to put out the fire. They resumed efforts to extinguish the fire about 2 p.m., according to the Adams County Department of Emergency Services.

Miller Chemical and Fertilizer, 120 Radio Road, straddles the line that separates York and Adams counties.

Smoke: People at the scene reported a nasty smell and burning eyes. Several sealed containers were heard exploding.

However, officials said the smoke was not considered toxic.

Residents living within a one-mile radius of the fire, including many in Hanover, were asked to stay in their homes as a precaution, and businesses were urged to close as the plant burned. The advisory was lifted late Monday afternoon.

No injuries were reported.

A fire chief says homes would have been evacuated if winds had shifted and pushed smoke their way. Officials are monitoring air quality.

A state police fire marshal is on the scene investigating the cause of the fire.

Miller Chemical says it manufactures nonhazardous crop protection and nutritional agrochemicals.

Environment: The fire is not believe to have had an adverse impact on the water supply, emergency services said.

Crews created a retention pond to capture water from firefighting efforts, minimizing the potential risk to the environment. Vacuum tanker trucks and storage tanks also were brought in to house the water.

Any individuals with environmental questions or questions regarding well water are advised to contact the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection at (717) 705-4700.