OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. — A fire at a nursery supply plant on Avenue A in Kissimmee has been contained, Osceola County Fire Rescue officials said Thursday afternoon, and many residents are concerned about possible toxins in the air caused by the plastic and pallets of containers that burned for hours.
What You Need To Know
- Osceola County Fire and Rescue has contained a massive fire at a nursery supply plant in Kissimmee
- The fire started overnight in the early morning hours
- The damage was contained to the outside yard where flower pots manufactured inside the plant are stored
- Nearby residents are concerned about air quality issues resulting from smoke from the blaze
Crews from multiple agencies had been battling a large blaze at the site since early Thursday and said they would stay at the site to ensure it stays under control and is completely extinguished.
The site has "quite a large mess of melted plastic, etc.," Osceola Fire and Rescue said on its Facebook account.
According to a statement from Nursery Supplies, damage was contained to the outside yard where flower pots manufactured inside the plant are stored.
The cause of the fire has not yet been determined, and no injuries have been reported so far, officials said.
The smoke came billowing over the area, part of it residential, for hours. There were piles and piles of plastic flowerpots on fire that were outdoors.
About 2 acres, piles as high as 10 feet, were ablaze.
The fire, which is south of the city of Kissimmee and just north of Poinciana High School, had concerned some residents because of the close proximity and air quality issues resulting from smoke from the blaze.
“I suffer from asthma. I’m concerned about the air, all of this pollution,” said Kissimmee resident Javier Rivera.
He told Spectrum News 13 he heard helicopters around 1 a.m., Thursday.
When he went outside hours later, he saw that the area was covered in black smoke.
“I’m concerned about everybody here, it’s just a lot of houses, new constructions around here. There’s a lot of animals, a lot of people, there’s a lot of seniors around here. I’m concerned about it,” said Rivera.
Crews set up air-monitoring devices in the area and had been prepared to evacuate the area, if necessary, fire officials said on Facebook.
"The safety of our team members and our neighbors in the nearby community are our top priority and concern," Nursery Supplies said in a statement issued Thursday afternoon. "We are thankful that the team in the plant at the time the fire started was quickly evacuated, and there have been no reported injuries. The plant has been fully evacuated while fire control activities continue, and team members are being advised not to come to work. We are cooperating fully with all of the authorities, including those who are on site managing and investigating the situation. We are thankful to them for their quick response.”
Nursery Supplies did not respond Thursday to questions from Spectrum News about what exactly their flower pots are made of . The OSHA complaint filed January 27 is related to both health and safety, public records show.
Spectrum News reached out to OSHA multiple times Thursday seeking more information about that complaint, but did not receive a response.
“The recent OSHA inspection focused on routine plant operation matters including safety procedures, maintenance, ventilation, and signage. The company has not been issued any remediation instructions by OSHA and immediately resumed normal operations,” Nursery Supplies Inc. stated.
Osceola County School District public information officer Dana Schafer told Spectrum News 13 that, "Our Safety and Security team is aware and is closely monitoring the situation."
What’s burning? @mynews13 is currently on-scene at a warehouse fire in Kissimmee. This is a developing story, stay with us for updates. pic.twitter.com/54ybIiy3wK— Katie Streit (@katiestreit) February 16, 2023
Nursery Supplies is slated to appear in court in Osceola County later this year, for a trial in an environmental/toxic tort case. The trial stems from an allegation made by somebody who conducted work on the facility’s water cooling towers back in 2019.
The worker alleges they were unknowingly exposed to legionella bacteria in the cooling towers, and contracted Legionnaires’ disease as a result. The lawsuit, brought against both Nursery Supplies and Waterhouse Corporation, is set for trial in October.