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Massive Fire Destroys Fertilizer Plant In Sterling

STERLING, Colo. (CBS4) – Investigators have determined that a massive fire at a fertilizer plant in Sterling was started by a welding accident.

The Sterling Fire Department got a call from workers inside the Kugler Company fertilizer plant located at 20313 Riverside about the fire at approximately 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday.

Ten workers inside the plant at the time of the fire all were able to get out safely. They were able to get liquid fertilizer chemical tanks shut off before they could burn so it wasn't as much a chemical fire.

During the fire a small amount of anhydrous ammonia leaked out of pipes, prompting a reverse 911 call to about 200 households on the northeast side of town. The chemical has a strong odor and could be a harmful for people with respiratory problems. So far there haven't been any reports of anyone getting sick.

Sterling Fire
(credit: Rob McClure)

According to Sterling Fire Chief Kurt Vogel, the blaze, which burned nearly 95 percent of the building, was under control at approximately 5 p.m.

Crews will stay on the scene overnight to keep putting water on the building.

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