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Chemical Plant Fire In South Omaha Leaves Residents Wondering About After-Effects

Authorities say a fire raged through a chemical company just southwest of downtown Omaha, forcing some nearby residents to evacuate and leaving thousands without power. KETV reports that thick smoke billowed from the Nox-Crete facility Monday night, but no injuries had been reported. Battalion Chief Scott Fitzpatrick said the first call for help came shortly before 7 p.m. Fitzpatrick said firefighters first struggled to access the fire, then realized it was bigger than first thought and pulled back knowing there were chemicals and propane bottles on site. Pottawattamie County Emergency Management says the smoke poses no toxicity risks. Omaha Public Power District said more than 2,500 customers were without electricity in the neighborhoods near the fire. Officials say Nox-Crete filed a notification of environment concern report with the Nebraska Department of Energy and Environment. The report says that acids, bases and solvents in large quantities were involved in the incident. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, all asbestos material had been removed from the Omaha facility in 1993, but tests were ordered as a precaution. The state says this means residents can dispose of debris that ended up in their yards, but they are asked to double-bag the remnants from the fire before putting them in their trash cans. Those residents are still asked to refrain from moving their lawns for the time being.