NORTH LITTLE ROCK, AR - Firefighters have contained a chemical fire at a factory that produces artificial fingernails and related products in central Arkansas.
"The whole building just started filling up with smoke so we evacuated," said Onyx Corporation Employee Karon Gnau, "and they called the fire department and they evacuated us all out because we have tankers of acetone out in the back of our building which would blow up."
The tankers never blew up. North Little Rock Assistant Chief Steve Smith says one person was taken to a hospital, but that he has no details of that person's injuries. He says up to 4,000 gallons of acetone ignited in the blaze. The Arkansas Department of Emergency Management earlier said some 40,000 gallons were alight.
Fire engines blocked the road leading to the facility as firefighters sprayed water on an outbuilding where the fire burned. The building was used to fill bottles of nail polish remover for retail sale. Workers at light-industry businesses in the immediate area were evacuated.
While firefighters have yet to release an official cause of the fire, Onyx employees say the fire started when a conveyor belt malfunctioned and sparked, igniting acetone used for nail polish remover.
"Acetone was like leaking on the floor and then like there was a spark, there was a short," said Onyx Employee Noel Contreras. "It came down on the acetone on the floor and it just caught on fire."
Firefighters say they'll release their investigation's findings regarding the cause of the fire in the next day or so.