Firefighters To Monitor Hot Spots After Major Fire At Ochelata Wax Plant

Friday, July 23rd 2021, 5:16 pm
By: Ashlyn Brothers

OCHELATA, Oklahoma -

Fire crews are keeping an eye on hot spots after a large fire burned for hours inside a wax plant in Washington County Friday.

Firefighters said this fire required a lot of extra effort and manpower. 

The Washington County Fire Chief said fighting this fire wasn't easy because of all the wax inside the plant, the amount of water needed to put out the flames and making sure they could get inside the building safely.  

Firefighters said, at one point, there were over three 20,000 tanks of wax exploding inside the building. Folks nearby said the building looked like a giant candle while it burned.  

"It's going to burn - and wax and water don't mix,” said Rhonda Pryce, Emma's Mini Mart. 

Pryce works at a mini mart just down the road from Premiere Wax Incorporated. 

"I pulled in I see all the firetrucks and flames and stuff,” Pryce said.  

Washington County Fire Chief Kary Cox said they got the call just after midnight and when they arrived flames and smoke were pouring out of the building. Cox said the damage is mostly in the administrative offices.

He said their job was even harder today because rural is not equipped for these big fires. Cox said crews had to shuttle water in from as far as five miles out of town. 

Related Story: Several Fire Crews Battle Fire At Wax Manufacturing Facility In Ochelata

"The amount of water that we were using initially on this was very taxing on their water system," Cox said.  

Cox said they'll continue keeping a layer of foam from Phillips 66 Petroleum Company on the wax tanks to prevent overheating. At one point, seven departments and about 40 firefighters were on scene, most of which are volunteers.   

"These folks are missing their job today or whatever else they have going on in their life to help come out and battle this fire,” Cox said.  

Pryce said workers at the wax plant stop by her shop every morning for a cup of coffee so she's just happy to hear her friends are okay.  

“Everybody else was safe and you know, it can be replaced. Maybe bigger and better the next time,” Pryce said.  

Cox said firefighters will likely be out here for the next two days checking hotspots. The State Fair Marshall will determine the cause of the fire.