Memphis firefighters battled a two alarm fire Friday morning at the Cargill facility in the 1800 block of Channel Avenue on President's Island. A Cargill crew, dismantling a tank that once stored corn oil, accidentally ignited the blaze when sparks from a torch hit the oil.
Thick black smoke and flames shot up from where a storage tank once stood, while hundreds of gallons of corn oil burned.
Kathy Garrison, a spokesperson for Cargill, likened the blaze to a kitchen fire. "Corn oil, just like you use in the kitchen," she said. "A spark hit it and actually the oil caught fire."
The smoke was not considered dangerous as it darkened the Friday morning sky. Firefighters said spraying water on the fire would have only caused it to spread. They secured a perimeter around the fire while waiting for it to burn itself out. Crews also contained the fire, stopping it from spreading to other nearby tanks.
Meanwhile, traffic, both road and rail, was stopped in the area while the fire burned.
Officials at the scene emphasized that smoke and fumes caused by the fire were not toxic.
No injuries were reported.
Because the tank involved in the fire was no longer in use, the facility was able to re-open just hours after the fire was extinguished.