Firefighters are still investigating the cause of a Wednesday morning fire that burned for an hour and a half in the Teflon filter of a Magna plant.
The fire at the Union Pacific Resource Plant, 1380 S. 121st West, was confined to a metal hopper, similar to a grain hopper, and caused little damage to the building, said Salt Lake County Fire Lt. Dennis Steadman.The first firefighters to arrive on the scene after they received a 7:30 a.m. call noticed the flames were an unusual color and called the hazardous materials crew.
Steadman said burning Teflon is toxic by ingestion or inhalation and is a strong skin irritant.
The fire was contained within the hopper, and strong southerly winds blew potentially toxic smoke away from the firefighters. "That was the best thing we had going for us."
Despite the full protective gear worn by firefighter Doug Mangum, steam and heat still singed his hair. Because of the toxic nature of the fire, Mangum was taken to the hospital where he was examined for toxic exposure then released.
The variety of toxic chemicals available means firefighters have to exercise a greater level of caution, said Steadman. "It's a whole new ball game. We don't take chances anymore."