Ethanol Fires...Are We Ready?

Ethanol is fueling fire concerns across the nation because it is difficult to control.

Using ethanol as an alternative fuel carries a danger experts say many communities have been slow to recognize.

But both the Hereford Fire Department and the White Energy Ethanol Plant say they are ready for anything.

Marshall Dean Turney says, "The Panhandle is ready. As soon as we found out we were getting ethanol in the Panhandle here in Hereford we started training for it."

Ethanol fires are harder to put out than gasoline fires and require a special type of fire fighting foam. Marshall Turney says they carry the foam on their trucks but all the area ethanol plants have their own foam on-site.

"If we were to have a big incident we have a good relationship with the ethanol plant that's open now and we will with the other one too, so they could help us with the foam also."

White Energy Plant officials stressed the importance of having a good working relationship to ensure they are prepared.

CEO Kevin Kuykendall says, "We've worked with the local fire department themselves. I think we're prepared, the people are prepared and the community is prepared."

Vice President of Ethanol Maufacturing Rob Dubar says, "I mean the plant was designed not to have that happen. I've been doing this for 15 years and never had a fire in a facility."

And the foam is not cheap running at 90 to 115 dollars for a five gallon container.

But if a fire starts Marshall Tourney says the ethanol plants will pick up the tab.