A chemical fire broke out at a steel plant Saturday afternoon in Plum, Pennsylvania, with three people transported to area hospitals.
At least a dozen employees were at work when flames ignited at Affival Inc., WTAE-TV reports. Authorities ordered a hazmat team to the scene when it was discovered that titanium and calcium powder was burning.
“Unfortunately, with this type of stuff, you can’t put any water on it, so we had to call in some special units for dry chem and the hazmat team just to air monitor and keep things in check,” Plum Unity Volunteer Fire Department Chief Glenn Kopec said.
Titanium reacts with water if its protective titanium oxide surface layer is destroyed, making it water soluble. Calcium reacts slowly with water, forming calcium hydroxide and hydrogen gas.