Acetone catches fire at Ark. nail products company

By Jeannie Nuss

Associated Press

Published: Thursday, Oct. 20 2011 2:01 p.m. MDT

A firefighter puts water on a fire at the Onyx Laboratories plant in North Little Rock, Ark., Thursday, Oct. 20, 2011. Arkansas Department of Emergency Management said 40,000 gallons of acetone burned at the plant that produces artificial fingernails and related products.

Danny Johnston, Associated Press

Enlarge photo»

MAUMELLE, Ark. — Fire broke out Thursday at a company that bottles nail polish remover in central Arkansas, prompting area evacuations and causing at least one injury, a fire official said.

North Little Rock Fire Assistant Chief Steve Smith said the fire that began about 9 a.m. at the Onyx Laboratories plant in Maumelle, just north of Little Rock, had been put out by early afternoon.

Smith said an employee was taken to a hospital, but he didn't have details about the person's injuries. Exposure to excessive levels of acetone can irritate the eyes and breathing passages.

Workers were filling bottles of nail polish remover when they noticed the fire Thursday morning. Smith said everyone escaped the building.

Smith and Marty Martin, who owns the company with his wife, said they did not yet know what caused the blaze. Martin declined to comment further.

Fire engines blocked the road leading to the facility as firefighters sprayed water on the site earlier Thursday. Workers at the nail company and nearby businesses were evacuated.

Traffic was backed up for several hours on a busy highway that carries traffic to and from the Little Rock bedroom community of Maumelle.

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