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UPDATE: Chemical Fumes Contained at Port of Tampa

Tampa Fire Rescue


Tampa Fire Rescue Capt. Lonnie Benniefield tells the Tampa Bay Times that a downtown Tampa resident called authorities just before 9 a.m., complaining of eye irritation. Fire crews dispatched to the port found a  small fire inside a sulfur tank.

Responders used steam to try to smother the fire inside the tank, Benniefield said, and that created sulfur dioxide, a gas that entered the air and floated through downtown.

The crews were able to extinugish the fire, which Benniefield says was started during routine maintenance on the tank. Fire crews also reportedly used a mist cloud in an attempt to break up the sulfur particles in the air.

UPDATE AT 11:20 A.M.

The "all clear" has been given and people are free to move about the south side of downtown Tampa after a chemical fume leak at the Port of Tampa has been contained.

According to Tampa Police, Tampa Fire Rescue extinguished a small fire in a silo that caused the sulfur dioxide fumes. Winds blew those fumes toward downtown, but they have since dissipated.

The "shelter in place" order that was issued for downtown residents around 10:45 a.m. has been lifted.

There are no reports of any injuries.


Residents of Channelside and Harbour Island and others on the south side of downtown Tampa are being asked to stay inside while emergency responders try to contain apparent chemical fumes coming from the Port of Tampa.

The City of Tampa put out this statement on their emergency notification system, "Alert Tampa," just before 11 a.m.

All citizens in the southside of downtown are urged to shelter in place due to chemical fumes coming from the Port of Tampa. Tampa Fire Rescue is working to identify the fumes and contain them. Residents of Channelside and Harbour Island are encouraged to stay indoors. They may experience irritation of the eyes, nose and respiratory track, which can lead to headaches and dizziness. This is a precautionary measure while Tampa Fire Rescue works to resolve this issue. We will provide updates as soon as they become available.

No injuries have been reported at this time.

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