Karnes County Drilling Fluids Fire Mostly Out, Monitors and Investigations Continue

July 2, 2018


Police in the city of Kenedy say firefighters are continuing to monitor the site of an overnight hazardous chemicals fire at a former Wal-Mart store in Karnes County.

No injuries were reported.

Investigators have been at the site all day looking for a cause at the Newpark Drilling Fluids building along Highway 181, about 60 miles south of San Antonio, which was allowed to burn itself out in the early morning hours.

Residents who were evacuated from a nearby apartment complex have not yet been allowed to return home.

The building caught fire about 5 pm Sunday; firefighters remain alert for “hot spot,” areas around and under debris where the fire may still smolder.

Karnes City Fire Chief Charlie Malik said the building was engulfed in flames by the time firefighters arrived, so the decision was made to allow it to burn out so that poisons burn off while the heat is suppressed.

Water running off chemical fires is contaminated, he told the Karnes Countywide, so the fire was contained to avoid increasing the chance of pollution.