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Melted butter clogs drains and historical canal after dairy plant fire

06 January 2023

A fire at a dairy plant in Wisconsin, US resulted in melted butter clogging up nearby storm drains and historic canal on January 2. The fire at the Associated Milk Producers facility originated in a storage room and left firefighters battling flames, heavy smoke, and melted butter.

Image: Portage Fire Department
Image: Portage Fire Department

The incident happened in the city of Portage in central Wisconsin at around 21:15 local time. The Portage Fire Department attended the scene but struggled to gain access to the site due to immense heat and smoke that the fire was producing. Fire crews attempted to gain access from each end of the structure to control fire spread but due to the heavy smoke and runoff they couldn’t proceed.

The Portage Fire Department said in a statement that the fire started in a room where butter was being stored and as it was heated it began to flow throughout the structure. The butter runoff and heavy smoke slowed access to the structure. After multiple hours with many crews the fire was contained and extinguished before it could spread past the firewalls and throughout the building.

A Hazmat Team was called to the scene and attempted to contain the runoff into storm sewers and the a historic Portage Canal located opposite the plant. A boom and other absorbents were placed to control the runoff, however several storm drains and the canal became clogged with the butter.

No injuries were reported as a result of the blaze. Officials said that the cause of the fire is under investigation.

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