Company delays reporting sulphur fire at Port of Tampa - WFLA News Channel 8

Company delays reporting sulphur fire at Port of Tampa

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At the Port of Tampa, a smoke plume was visible from a large tank containing molten sulphur Tuesday afternoon.

Gulf Sulphur services says staff members noticed the fire at 4:10 p.m. And activated a fire suppression system.

It would be more than an hour before they would notify Tampa Fire Rescue of the problem.

Tampa Fire Rescue Chief Emilio Salabarria is familiar with the location.  His crews responded to the same place just last week.

Salabarria says, "It's the same fire, in the same location, in the same tank involving the same product."

Gulf Sulphur Services says sulphur can produce sulphur dioxide buy they maintain the fire at the port created a cloud of mostly water vapor and presented no danger to the public.

Chief Salabarria says sulphur dioxide can present problems if people come into contact with it, "It can produce sulfur dioxide gas, which when it gets in the air and mixes with moisture can burn, cause burning and itching to the skin and the eyes."

Greg Connor is staying in the Palmetto Beach neighborhood, not far from the fire and says he noticed something was going on in the port.

Connor says, " It sounded like one engine company after another, after another, then I saw some helicopters, so I came out here and rode down on the bike to see if I could see what was going on and I couldn't see anything and then I smelled chemicals."

However Connor says they were never notified of any trouble, "I thought maybe anytime we might have some type of public, you know, sheriffs or something coming through here, telling everybody to get inside."

Gulf Sulphur Services says they are working to drain the tank involved for repairs and inspection.

A crew from Tampa Fire Rescue will remain on scene until the process is complete.


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