Chickasha Fire Department prepares to launch investigation into blaze at large manufacturing company

Four days after a large fire in Chickasha, another fire occurred with similarities to the first: both are linked to expired hand sanitizer.

Chickasha Fire Department Chief Tony Samaniego said they were eager to start digging through the rubble.

This is to answer the 1.5 million gallon question.

“It’s still a question of whether it was arson or not,” Samaniego said.

Sunday’s fire at the Chickasha Manufacturing Co. forced crews to put away their hoses. Firefighters could only sit and watch the building burn.

“We thought it best to prevent dripping and things like that. And it was a very clean burn, so we let the flames go out and lose all their fuel,” Samaniego said.

The fuel was alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Eight thousand pallets — nearly 1.5 million gallons — were in and around the nearly 120,000 square foot facility.

“Our only alarm bell is that the building was not allowed to be occupied,” Samaniego said. “We actually suffered damage to one of our fire trucks. The heat from the fire itself was actually so intense that we had to step back. We started noticing some of the damage, and if we had left that fire truck there, we might have seen a loss there as well.

A pipe along the fence of the manufacturing company suffered the same fate.

Since the fire, Samaniego said they have had crews at the company around the clock to ensure no one interferes with the survey site.

Now that the smoke has cleared, the investigation into the origin of the spark can begin.

“We’re really looking forward to getting in there and really starting to dig and really dig down to the bottom of it all, digging everything up and trying to get to the point of origin,” Samaniego said. “Once we get to the point or points of origin, then at that point we will make our way from there.

Chief Samaniego said they hope to start this investigation late Thursday afternoon or first thing Friday morning.