Sulfur dioxide tank at the Port of Tampa caught fire twice in less than a week

TAMPA - For the second time in less than a week, Tampa Fire Rescue put out flames at the same Port of Tampa fertilizer tank.  The tank is owned by Gulf Sulphur.

Now, firefighters and the fire marshal are closely watching as company workers offload the sulfur so the tank can be thoroughly inspected.  The process is expected to take a minimum of three days.

Once empty, the tank must pass a complete inspection and must submit a certificate to the fire marshal's office.

Last week Thursday, the fire at the tank prompted the department to issues warnings about potentially harmful fumes.  Residents in south Tampa and Harbour Island were even told to stay indoors if possible because the fumes could cause eye, skin and throat irritations.

Tonight, only one business south of the fire was evacuated.  However, a precaution was issued to people in south Tampa.

Officials said there was no imminent threat  tonight because Mother Nature is lending a hand.  With the wind heading in a southeast direction, the fumes are moving away from highly populated areas.

 Ladder trucks are out sprayed water into the tank.  Bennefield described the sulfur as being molten.

Bennefield explained that the the sulfur is kept warm by a system of heated coils that are installed around the tank.

As of 7 p.m., the cause of the fire had not been determined.  Tampa Fire Rescue did contain the fire in less than an hour.

The Port remained open through the ordeal.


Print this article Back to Top