Lee's Summit Journal

Firefighters battle large blaze at chemicals manufacturing plant in Lee’s Summit

A fire at a chemicals plant in Lee’s Summit is billowing smoke in the area. Multiple emergency crews are responding.
A fire at a chemicals plant in Lee’s Summit is billowing smoke in the area. Multiple emergency crews are responding. grice@kcstar.com

A two-alarm fire broke out Wednesday morning at C K Enterprises Inc. — a manufacturer of specialty chemicals and detergent, including car wash chemicals — in Lee’s Summit.

Fire crews were summoned to the approximately 80,000-square foot facility, which is located at 1204 SW Jefferson St., just after 8 a.m.

Fire officials immediately upgraded the incident to a two-alarm blaze. The building was being evacuated when firefighters arrived.

The fire was contained to the exterior northwest portion of the facility, according to Lee’s Summit Assistant Fire Chief Jim Eden.

Workers were transferring approximately 1,000 gallons of mineral spirit-based diesel fuel winterizing additive to a tank inside of the building when the fire started. It did not spread to the interior of the building, but there was enough heat inside to cause two sprinkler heads next to the exterior wall to activate and help protect the wall, according to fire officials.

One worker was taken to the hospital with non life-threatening injury.

“Anytime we have a fire with chemicals, we take extra precautions not only for the firefighters responding to the scene but for the public as well,” Eden said.

Fire officials were told that crews were working with a winter fuel additive and that was believed to be the product that was initially involved. There were at least six tanks that were consumed and contained various acids, alcohols, and other hydrocarbons.

Schools in the immediate area that were alerted of the fire but were told to remain inside.

Charlie Kuckel said he has operated the business for the past 37 years. The fire was contained to the exterior of the facility, because the tanks are located inside concrete-contained walls, Kuckel said.

“It looks like a lot worse than it is, but it’s all contained,” he said. “We will have to deal with it (the damage).”

Fire crews trained two aerial hoses over the building to help bring the blaze under control.

The Kansas City Fire Department along with the Grandview Fire Department were sent to the scene as a heavy plume of thick, black smoke billowed from the scene and could be seen from miles away along Missouri 350.

Lee’s Summit Public Works blocked a storm water detention pond located north of the facility and contained any contaminated run-off from the site while firefighters battled the blaze.

Workers from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources and the Kansas City fire hazmat unit monitored the air quality and found nothing hazardous.

The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Lee’s Summit Fire Department are investigating what caused the fire.

Glenn E. Rice: 816-234-4341, @GRicekcstar