MEDELLIN, Colombia (ICIS)--Mexican phosphate producer Fertinal said on Thursday that its fertilizer production plant in the city of Lazaro Cardenas in the southern state of Michoacan was operating normally following a fire at the site on Wednesday.
The company said the fire, which broke out at about 11:00 local time (16:00 GMT) inside the plant’s sulphur ash deposit yard, an area used to store recycled materials used in the manufacture of fertilizers, had caused no damage to the premises.
The blaze began “due to the heat of the dry season, which along with the use of heavy machinery could have caused a spark arising from the friction during the operation of our equipment”, according to the company.
Fertinal said that certain media reports claiming the incident was caused by an ammonia leak were “false and inaccurate”, as the affected area is some distance from the plant’s ammonia storage facilities.
Michoacan state authorities reported that 77 local residents were taken to hospital suffering from minor respiratory problems due to resulting smoke from the fire, while 236 children were evacuated from a nearby nursery as a precautionary measure.
Local firefighters, company staff and military personnel extinguished the blaze at about 16:30 on Wednesday, Fertinal said.