WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) – The Wichita Fire Department says one or more punctured propane cylinders caused explosions and a three-alarm fire at the Coleman plant on the northeast side.

Crews responded at around 5:15 p.m. Wednesday to a fire involving hazardous materials at the building located at 2111 East 37th Street North. They arrived to find heavy smoke and flames in the east side loading docks. Second and third alarms were requested. 

The fire department said there were numerous explosions from involved semi-trailers with aluminum propane canisters being launched in the air several hundred feet.

"Due to the exploding propane canisters, several grass fires were ignited near the structure as well as several hundred feet to the southeast," WPD said in a release. "There were over 900 feet of fire attack lines that had to be extended into the structure to reach the seat of the fire."

The fire extended into the building and to several hundred coolers inside. The fire was later declared under control.

The release said one semi-trailer was being offloaded into two other trailers when an explosion occurred. Two employees attempted to use dry chemical fire extinguishers to put out the fire but were unsuccessful.

The propane cylinders began to explode and the fire progressed rapidly. Thankfully, all employees escaped without injury. 

"The cause of the fire and explosions was determined to be one or more of the propane cylinders being inadvertently punctured while being loaded into the semi-trailer," the department said. "This set off a chain reaction of explosions involving approximately 1000, one-gallon camping propane cylinders."

A dollar amount for the damage and loss has yet to be determined.


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Fires crews respond to a fire involving hazardous material in north Wichita Wednesday.  

At approximately 5:20 p.m. the Wichita Fire Department responded to a building fire with hazardous product involved near 37th and Hydraulic.

According to Wichita Fire Chief Tammy Snow, when crews arrived on the scene, they saw fire on the exterior of the building near the loading dock. Crews also saw multiple explosions, as propane tanks were involved.

Two trailers that were near the loading dock had also caught on fire. Crews called for additional help making the fire a three-alarm fire.

Crews were able to establish waterlines, putting out the fire on both the exterior and interior of the building.

Chief Snow said some of the propane tanks were exploding and landing into the parking lot, at which crew members were established outside the building to put out any grass fires.

There are no reports of any serious injuries. Chief Snow said one employee was evaluated on the scene, but refused service.

Investigators are still working to find out what caused the fire.