February 8, 2022 Update
the evening of January 31, 2022, Region 4 received notification of a large fire
at a fertilizer plant located at 4440 North Cherry Street Winston-Salem, NC. Region 4’s outposted On-Scene
Coordinator (OSC) and telephone Duty Officer remained in constant contact with
local responders and the fire battalion chief during that time. On February 1,
2022, the state of NC requested EPA’s assistance with air monitoring and water
sampling. A precautionary one-mile evacuation radius resulted in
approximately 25 persons seeking shelter with reports of additional persons
arriving. Winston-Salem government officials urged residents within a
one-mile radius of the plant to evacuate. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
EPA concluded on-the-ground support
but will continue providing remote support to the state and local agencies.
While on the ground, EPA resources included two emergency response field staff,
as well as technical and contractor support. EPA also established four fixed
and one roving air monitoring station(s) and collected water samples to analyze
for potential impacts from firefighting water runoff into surface waters.
Sampling data from these activities can be found under the Documents tab on this page. Future sampling data will be made
available by contacting the hotline manned by Winston Weavers
consultants, PhD toxicologists at 866-412-7768. It is staffed from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern Time to address health effects and risk concerns from the community.
4 will continue to communicate with state counterparts at the North Carolina
Department of Environmental Quality (NCDEQ) and North Carolina Emergency
Management. All press inquiries will be
directed to and handled by Minor
Barnette, Director, Office of Environmental Assistance and Protection, Forsyth
County Government Center 201 North Chestnut Street, Winston-Salem, NC 27101,
Main (336) 703-2440, Direct (336) 703-2441. State and Local Public Health Agencies approved the use of a Potentially Responsible Party-lead
hotline at (866) 412-7768 to address health effects and risk concerns from the
Background on Response
At approximately 8 p.m. on Jan. 31, a large fire was reported
at the Weaver Fertilizer Plant located at 4440 North Cherry Street,
Winston-Salem, NC. The local Fire Department responded. Initially, A one-mile voluntary evacuation radius
was established by the Winston-Salem Fire Department due to possible explosion hazard. The Fire Department ceased firefighting operations and pulled back personnel due to concerns of potential explosion of the ammonium nitrate.
During the morning of February 1, the State of NC requested EPA's assistance with air monitoring and surface water sampling. Two Region 4 OSCs along with EPA contractor resources provided ammonia, nitrous oxide, and particulate air monitoring support to the incident. EPA resources will coordinate with the Local Incident Commander and provide data to support decision making and protect human health and the environment.
On February 2, Unified Command conducted a thorough assessment of one rail car containing ammonium nitrate located within the plant. The assessment determined that the rail car was not damaged during the incident, and no longer presented an explosion threat.
On February 3, Unified Command reduced the initial evacuation from an one-mile radius to an eighth of a mile radius. This new evacuation zone does not contain any residences and all previously evacuated residents were allowed to reoccupy their homes.
The EPA will continue to conduct air monitoring activities as long as fire suppression operations are impacting communities surrounding the Weaver Fertilizer Plant. The public may access EPA's air monitoring data by clicking the below links.
Returning Home After a Chemical Fire Fact Sheet
Regresando a casa después de un incendio con químicos (Hoja de Información)
PM2.5 Community Action Threshold Levels
EPA Air Monitoring Summary Tables for Weaver
Fertilizer Plant Fire
Site conditions have improved and EPA stopped conducting air monitoring operations as of 6 a.m., February 6. The air monitoring operations have transitioned from the EPA to the Potentially Responsible Party, Winston Weaver Co.'s environmental contractor under the direction and guidance of State and local environmental agencies.