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Crews extinguish asphalt fire at Woods Cross refinery

WOODS CROSS — Crews knocked down an asphalt fire at the Foreland refinery Tuesday that sent huge smoke plumes into the air.

Crews were alerted to the fire at 12:22 p.m. When they arrived, refinery personnel informed firefighters that asphalt had caught fire in a furnace, sending black smoke spewing from the smokestack, said South Davis Metro Fire Chief Jeff Bassett.

"The asphalt, when it burns, it's going to burn thick and black smoke," Barrett said. "It just looks like a tremendous amount of fire."

Asphalt was also found burning on the ground near the furnace, possibly having spilled out of the furnace after it caught fire, he said.

The department later reported the fire appeared to have been started by a broken furnace pipe, causing an estimated $100,000 in damage.

More than 25 firefighters responded to the blaze at 1710 W. 2600 South, according to Barrett. They set immediately to work fighting the ground fire and cooling nearby gas tanks that were heating up in an attempt to keep them from catching fire or exploding.

Once the ground fire was out and tanks were cooled, crews continued to monitor the furnace, he said.

"We are working on doing a final extinguishment on the furnace itself. On that stack … we still have periodically some heavy smoke that will burst through. There are segments of the asphalt that we are just allowing to burn up," Barrett said Tuesday afternoon.

Davis County Health Department employees were also at the scene with air monitoring devices. No alarms were triggered, the chief reported.

Winds took the smoke and smell from the asphalt "in all directions," he said.

The chief praised the immediate response by employees at the refinery who shut down gas lines and kept additional asphalt from going into the furnace.

"The plant personnel did an outstanding job," he said.

No evacuations were put into place as crews responded to the fire, but flights from the Skypark Airport in Woods Cross were briefly grounded.

No one was injured in the fire.

Contributing: Paul Nelson

Email: mromero@deseretnews.com

Twitter: McKenzieRomero