CHATHAM, Va. – 10:30 p.m. Update
The fire is out at a Pittsylvania County manufacturer as hazmat crews begin to investigate.
Pittsylvania County Public Safety Director, Chris Slemp confirmed that there were no injuries in the fire.
5:25 p.m. Update
Arkema, the chemicals company whose Chatham site was affected by the fire, issued a statement regarding what caused the chemical fire Tuesday afternoon.
Officials said it involved the overheating of one of their products, an acrylic building block used in products like coatings and adhesives.
The acrylic building block was stored in drums inside of the building, but when the product inside the drums overheated, it caused a polymerization reaction. That means the small building blocks formed into a long chain of molecules, causing overheating and polymerization in some of the drums nearby.
Arkema officials said they, along with local fire crews, are working to cool the materials to reduce potential polymerization.
3:49 p.m. Update
The fire at the Tightsqueeze Industrial Park is approximately 90% contained and the chemical smoke has slowed considerably, according to Pittsylvania County Public Safety.
With less smoke, officials believe that the threat to the public is very minimal at this time as first responders remain on scene.
A hazardous materials team from the state is also at the scene.
2:23 p.m. Update
Crews have contained an industrial fire in Pittsylvania County, but officials said its smoke can still cause damage.
While the fire is still active, authorities have contained it and everyone within a mile radius of the Tightsqueeze Industrial Park is asked to remain indoors.
Students at Chatham High School are being moved, and those whose parents took them to school today will be bussed to Chatham Middle School and can be picked up there.
Pittsylvania County officials are warning people to not breathe dangerous smoke coming from an industrial fire.
Just before 1:40 p.m., Pittsylvania County Public Safety issued a warning regarding a fire at the Tightsqueeze Industrial Park.
Those in the nearby area are advised to not breathe in the smoke and get inside immediately.
There is a fire at Tightsqueeze Industrial Park (Chatham, VA) that is causing a chemical smoke cloud in the area. Please avoid breathing in the smoke and seek shelter immediately if you live nearby Tightsqueeze Industrial Rd!— Pittsylvania County Public Safety (@pittsylvania911) March 30, 2021