A fire Monday at Port Manatee that closed nearby roads was caused by a truck driving over dry sulfur, fire officials said.
The sulfur is used for making various products and is transported from the ships to the site by dump trucks. A truck driver went outside a marked driving area and the friction of the truck tires on the dry sulfur was enough to ignite a flame, North River Fire District Fire Chief Michael Rampino said. The sulfur that is safe to drive over is kept wet.
The dry sulfur caught fire, as well as the truck, according to Rampino.
Port Manatee Deputy Executive Director Dave Sanford told the Bradenton Herald on Monday that at approximately 3 p.m., a bulk terminal operator noticed several small fires at tried to put them out to no avail.
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North River Fire District crews were called to Port Manatee around 3:30 p.m., Rampino said.
One port worker and one firefighter were treated for smoke inhalation and were released within a couple of hours, Rampino said.
Crews didn’t leave the scene until 8:30 p.m., ensuring that all hot spots were out. Piney Point Road and a portion of U.S. 41 were closed Monday while crews worked at the scene.
Rampino said their investigation into the fire is complete, and a full reported is expected.
The restricted driving area was originally marked by cones, but now, Rampino said, the company will use barriers to mark the path.