Fire at Omaha chemical plant forces residents to evacuate

A major fire broke out at a chemical plant near downtown Omaha Monday night, forcing some residents in the area to evacuate their homes and leaving hundreds without power.

In photos released by the Omaha Fire Department, smoke can be seen billowing from the Nox-Crete facility, which makes the chemical products, according to its website.

Omaha Fire Department battalion chief Scott Fitzpatrick told NBC News that no one was on duty when firefighters arrived at the scene around 7 p.m. local time (8 p.m. ET) Monday night. He said there were no injuries as of late Monday.

The cause of the fire was not clear. Fitzpatrick said the fire caused several large bottles of propane to explode. “We also know that they stored dangerous chemicals in this structure,” he added.

According to its website, Nox-Crete manufactures molding and deactivating paint, as well as “liquid floor hardeners, joint fillers, curing and sealing compounds, water repellents and more.” NBC News has contacted Nox-Crete for comment on the incident.

Fitzpatrick said residents and nearby businesses had been advised to evacuate the area, but he could not say how many people were affected or when they would be able to return home.

The Omaha Fire Department said in a tweet that a community center had opened nearby to provide shelter to those forced to evacuate.

Nearly 2,500 customers were out of power in neighborhoods near the scene of the fire Monday night, according to the ABC affiliate. KETV, based in Omaha. By early Tuesday morning, the total number of outages in Omaha had fallen to less than 250, according to the Omaha District Public Energy. website.

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