Chemical fire causes evacuation

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Ted Sullivan
Thursday, February 17, 2011
— About eight people were evacuated from a Janesville chemical company Wednesday after a fire inside the building.

The Janesville Fire Department went to DeVere Co., 1923 Beloit Ave., at 11:21 a.m. after sodium chlorite, moisture and cardboard combined to create a small fire, Capt. Jim Dennis said.

Employees were quickly evacuated, and no one was injured, he said. Most employees went home for the rest of the day.

The chemicals didn't create a hazard in the building or air, although Kellogg Avenue east of Beloit Avenue was temporarily closed as a precaution, Dennis said. Beloit Avenue heading north from Kellogg Avenue also was closed.

No nearby homes or businesses were evacuated, he said.

"It's a dangerous chemical, and you wouldn't want to breathe it, but we had no issues with that," Dennis said. "Everyone was protected."

DeVere makes products for cleaning and sanitation. DeVere's products include concentrated cleaners, sanitizers, disinfectants, deodorizers and laundry-care products, according to the company's website.

DeVere's products also include aerosols, hand soaps, paper goods, floor care, surface products and janitorial supplies, the website stated.

Employees stood outside the building after the fire. Employees declined to comment, although one woman said the fire was an accident and everyone was safe.

Several fire engines and ambulances were at the scene. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources officials arrived because of the potential environmental hazard.

DeVere will be responsible for cleaning the building, Dennis said.

Last updated: 4:17 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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