An explosion at a U.S. warehouse filled with fire extinguishing foam is drawing the ire of fire fighters.
The explosion was caused by an illegal discharge of propane fuel into a shipping container, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and the agency is investigating the matter.
“The Federal Emergency Manager Agency has ordered the Federal Hazardous Materials Response Team (FHMRT) to investigate the cause of the incident,” the FHMRT said in a statement, adding that it would “provide additional details on the incident” after it’s complete.
The warehouse where the blast occurred was on the outskirts of Columbus, Ohio, about 30 miles (48 kilometers) north of Cleveland.
Firefighters were dispatched to the warehouse at about 6:45 p.m. on Thursday, said David Gee, a spokesman for the Columbus Fire Department.
When they arrived, the fire spread rapidly and engulfed the warehouse, the FHA said in an update.
The company that runs the warehouse is still closed.
An FHMA spokesman told the Associated Press that the warehouse was being inspected, but he was unable to provide further details.
This is the first explosion at an industrial facility at a fire site, said Robert Dickey, an assistant professor of industrial safety at Rutgers University.
There is no indication of an explosion or other damage, he said.
At the time of the explosion, the warehouse contained about 40,000 pounds of fire extinguishant foam, according a fire official familiar with the investigation.
A container of propylene glycol and other containers had been stored at the warehouse.
An FHEMA official told the AP that a container of compressed natural gas was also on the premises.
Officials from the U.K.-based company that owns the warehouse said the foam was stored onsite and that it was being used in building the warehouse for a new facility.
Foam and other materials are used in a number of industrial products, including some for insulation, insulation products for industrial-scale equipment and insulation products to replace fireproofing materials, the company said in its statement.
According to a company statement, the foam will be used in the construction of a new plant to be built by the company in Columbus.
The facility is being constructed by a group of firms.