Harleyville cement plant firefighting efforts likely to continue through Tuesday
Fire crews are trying to pull the collapsed roof off the smoldering debris to put out hot spots from a large fire at a recycling storage building.
They expect to be at it awhile. The fire engulfed the 6,500 square foot Argos cement plant building where flammable rubber, carpeting and paper was stored for recycling.
The plant is near Interstate 26 in Harleyville.
Dorchester County Fire Coordinator Tres Anderson said firefighters were in the process of changing out personnel from departments in three counties and hoping that fresh volunteers turn out after they get off work.
“It’s probably a good day, day and a half of work,” he said.
The fire broke out about 4:45 a.m. inside an alternative fuels building at the ARGOS USA plant at 463 Judge St., according to the Dorchester County Sheriff’s Office.
Crews spent about an hour knocking down the flames, Atkinson said. The blaze is now contained,
Two workers were in the building when the blaze started, but both got out safely and no injuries have been reported in connection with the fire, Atkinson said.
The cement plant has continued to operate throughout the fire.
The Red Cross has sent a team to the plant to provide water, food and support to firefighters.
Colombia-based Argos acquired the plant, which can produce more than a million tons of cement annually, last year from the Lafarge corporation as part of a $760 million agreement between the two companies. At the time, the plant employed 80 people.
The Harleyville plant was among several Southeast businesses that Lafarge sold to Cementos Argos to reduce its debt load.
Argos’ website shows it also has 20 ready-mix concrete businesses in South Carolina, including one each in Charleston and Summerville.