Fire ravages fertilizer facility in Purdy, prompting large-scale emergency response

Motion panned view of a fire truck racing with sirens blaring to the scene of an emergency.

In a dramatic incident last Friday, a significant fire engulfed the Purdy Farm Center’s fertilizer building located on W. Washington Street in Purdy. The blaze, reported shortly after 5:30 p.m., drew a substantial emergency response, with fourteen area agencies swiftly converging on the scene.

The severity of the situation was heightened by the presence of ammonium nitrate within the facility, a compound known for its explosive potential and toxicity when inhaled. In a precautionary move, responders quickly shut down nearby streets, the Arkansas and Missouri railway, and initiated the evacuation of residents within a four-block radius.

Witnesses reported the intensity of the fire, with flames reaching up to 50 feet high, visible from as far as Monett. Despite these challenging conditions, the Purdy Fire Protection District successfully extinguished the fire by around 7:15 p.m., enabling the reopening of Business Hwy. 37 and the gradual return to normalcy.

The incident, while severe, fortunately resulted in no major injuries, although three firefighters received on-site treatment for minor injuries. By approximately 10:15 p.m., all units had cleared the scene.

Purdy Fire Chief Nick Mercer acknowledged the fire’s cause remains undetermined due to the extent of damage, but mentioned that equipment stored within the building is under high suspicion.

The response to the fire was a testament to the coordination and dedication of local emergency services, involving over 60 personnel from various departments, including fire, police, ambulance, highway patrol, and emergency management teams from the surrounding areas.

In the aftermath, Purdy Farm Center took to social media to express gratitude for the swift action of the emergency responders and community support. They confirmed the loss of one building but reassured the public of their resilience and intention to resume business operations promptly. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

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