Winston-Salem fertilizer fire reveals regulatory loopholes, spurs hard questions about building and workplace safety
Owners of the Weaver Fertilizer plant in Winston-Salem failed to submit a required chemical inventory to the NC Department of Public Safety in 2020, a key piece of information for state and local emergency officials. Nearly 600 tons of ammonium nitrate caught fire at the Weaver plant on Jan. 31 and burned for four days. The risk of explosion was so great that Winston-Salem officials asked people to evacuate within a mile radius, temporarily displacing 6,000 residents.
Environmental hazards loom large as emergency crews work to contain massive Winston-Salem fire
After two days, the enormous fire at the Weaver Fertilizer Plant in Winston-Salem is still burning, forcing the evacuation of more than 6,000 people within a mile radius of the 80-year-old facility. Because of the risk of explosion, firefighters can't extinguish the blaze; nor can they yet determine the cause of the fire.