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Tuesday, Jul 17, 2018
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Downtown Tampa warning lifted after chemical fire extinguished

A fire in a silo at the Port of Tampa led to a warning for downtown Tampa residents about chemical fumes.

A small fire in a silo at Gulf Sulphur Services, 1015 McCloskey Blvd., caused the chemical fumes, which have since dissipated, according to Tampa police.

According to Tampa Fire Rescue spokesman Lonnie Bennefield, the fire started around 9 a.m. in a silo, which contained sulphur and is owned by Gulf Sulphur.

Crews at the port attempted to extinguish the fire with steam, which created a cloud of sulphur dioxide that was visible at the port.

Anyone on the south side of downtown Tampa — including residents of Harbour Island and Channelside — was urged to seek shelter as a precaution. The warning was lifted at 11:39 a.m.

Some nearby residents complained of eye irritation, Bennefield said. Anyone with respiratory issues, such as asthma, could been affected, and the fumes could have led to headaches and dizziness. Otherwise, no injuries were reported.

It took crews approximately 2 1/2 hours to control the situation. The port was not shut down or evacuated during the fire, Bennefield said.

Facility workers said a small fire started during routine maintenance of the tank, resulting in small clouds of sulphur dioxide.

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