Fire destroys fertilizer plant in Loving

Posted at: 11/26/2013 6:36 PM
By: Lauren Hansard, KOB Eyewitness News 4

It was a close call for one rural New Mexico town. A fertilizer plant caught fire last night, barely missing the fertilizer chemicals.

As KOB Eyewitness News 4 found out, if the fertilizer would have caught fire, it could have been a lot worse.

"The flames were reaching over the water tower, it was shooting way over the top," said Becca Baker.

Neighbors in Loving describe the fire that took over a fertilizer plant Monday night.  Becca Baker lives across the street from the plant.

“It was bad.  It was scary and when the wind started blowing the flames just shot it was awful, just awful," said Baker.

“Look at that metal, every bit of it is just warped and fell in.  I don't even know where to start from here," said plant owner David McDonald.  "I feel terrible, I feel sick I couldn’t even sleep last night, my [blood] sugar went to 45.  I was in bad shape last night, it's just a wreck I mean a total wreck.”

The fire started in one of the plant’s industrial buildings where equipment is held.  McDonald said the fire caused hundreds of thousands of dollars of damage, but could have been worse.

The building that caught fire is just feet away from the building that holds the fertilizer.

“The dry facility probably could have been a lot worse because there’s a whole bin of sulfur in there.  Sulfur is one of the hardest things to put out, you can hardly put sulfur out," said McDonald.

Earlier this year a fertilizer plant explosion in west Texas killed 15 people.  McDonald said the fire has devastated business.

“It’s terrible for me.  It means that I’m out of the liquid fertilizer business for sure," said McDonald.

The Eddy County Emergency Manager told KOB the fire is being investigated by the state.  The cause of the fire is still unknown.