Crews battle large blaze at Marianna agriculture distributor

Image of the blaze from Chopper 5
Image of the blaze from Chopper 5

By Jason Miles - bio | email

MARIANNA, AR (WMC-TV) - The view from Chopper 5 captured the intensity of the fire.  It was fueled by fertilizer and other farming chemicals.  The thick black smoke and noxious fumes forced nearby residents to evacuate their homes.

"It smell like chemicals in it," said one resident.  "It's strong," she added.

"Chemicals, fertilizer, and all that kind of stuff is very dangerous," said another evacuee.

Company officials told Action News 5 the business, which sells chemical supplies to area farmers, was full of people when the fire started.

"We know that something fell through the roof that was on fire and caused our people to exit immediately," said Barry Knight, Executive Vice-President of Jimmy Sanders, Inc.

No one was hurt, either below or above the burning roof.

"We do know there were workers on the roof, repairing the roof, and had been on the roof for a while," says Knight.

Firefighters from West Memphis and Helena-West Helena joined every available unit in Marianna to contain the blaze.  They let it burn to help eliminate as much hazardous material as possible.

"We've got teams that are even on the opposite side of the county that are following the smoke and watching where the smoke comes down," said Marianna Fire Chief Rodney Herndon.

The chemical company already estimated losses to be in excess of $1,000,000 which does not include the building.

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