U.S. 281 reopens and dozens return home after asphalt plant fire

A fire at Century Asphalt Materials on U.S. 281 prompted a temporary evacuation of about 75 residents in the Burnet area due to a concern about flammable chemicals at the site. Courtesy photo

A fire at Century Asphalt Materials on U.S. 281 prompted a temporary evacuation of about 75 residents in the Burnet area due to a concern about flammable chemicals at the site. Courtesy photo

FROM STAFF REPORTS

BURNET — Crews snuffed an equipment fire July 6 at an asphalt facility on U.S. 281 that resulted in the evacuation of several dozen residents and the temporary closure of the highway, officials said.

The fire was reported just before 10 p.m. at Century Asphalt Materials, located in the 4900 block of U.S. 281 and adjacent to the Hansen Aggregates rock quarry.

According to crews on the scene, the fire started between two cylinders in some equipment at the facility.

The temperature of the fire reached 700 degrees, prompting the evacuation of residents at about 10:15 p.m. because of flammable chemicals at the facility, Burnet Police Chief Paul Nelson said.

About 75 residents within a one-mile radius of the facility, including some from The Ranch subdivision, relocated to the Burnet Community Center,

At the time of the evacuation, crews closed the highway between Sunday Drive (The Ranch entryway) and Park Road 4.

Residents returned to their homes just before midnight with no reports of injuries other than one plant employee.

“One of the overnight plant operators was transported to Seton Highland Lakes Medical Center in Burnet, where he was treated and released,” according to a statement by the Burnet Fire Department.

Burnet Fire Department crews, assisted by surrounding agencies, doused the blaze and remained on the scene overnight.

editor@thepicayune.com

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