Crews Respond To Port of Catoosa Structure Fire

Saturday, February 28th 2009, 4:47 pm
By: News On 6

By Dan Bewley, The News On 6

CATOOSA, OK -- Firefighters have a fire at the Port of Catoosa under control Saturday evening.

Someone spotted smoke and called the fire department about 3:30 p.m. Firefighters rushed to the scene to find a building used to store fertilizer completely in flames.

The view from SkyNews 6 showed a blanket of smoke covering the area.

Firefighters were able to quickly control the blaze and say the high winds made it easier.

"Actually the wind is not a bad thing for us today because it's carrying the products of this burning building and the products of combustion farther south," Tulsa Fire Capt. Michael Baker said. "So firefighters are able to work in an area that is not getting exposed to chemicals."

Agri-Nutrients has been in the fertilizer blending and bagging business since 1992. It ships fertilizer to be used for golf courses, residential lawns and to make ice-melt.

Port director Bob Portiss says despite the chemicals, the dry fertilizer is not dangerous.

Firefighters say one of their biggest concerns was the metal building and surrounding mixing towers collapsing because of the intense heat.

But Portiss says watching a longtime tenant lose everything is hard to swallow.  

"Oh, I hate it," Portiss said. "Absolutely, I hate it. Anytime I see a facility burn up it makes me cry, especially today with slow out here in the economy. You don't want these businesses to incur any other expenses."

Again, investigators say none of the chemicals or fertilizer here pose any kind of danger. They also say it could be several days before they are able to get inside to determine a cause.