911 calls of Zephyr fire reveals panic due to the threat it posed to explosives plant

For the first time ever, the 911 calls made to Brown County fire dispatch during a grass fire in Zephyr more than two weeks ago are now available to the public.

The grass fire started on July 23 and it threatened the Orica Plant, which manufactures and holds explosives, located along County Road 259 in Zephyr.

The fire forced the entire town of Zephyr to completely evacuate for several hours due to concerns that the plant might explode.

"The fire has jumped the explosives property," a firefighter said. "If you have any units available, send them down here. I think we're going to need them."

KTXS News obtained the 911 calls by submitting an open records request and panic can be heard among firefighters during the recordings.

At one point, a firetruck broke down, but the firefighters traveling in the firetruck reported that they were out of harm’s way.

Zephyr's fire chief had previously confirmed to KTXS News that the Orica Plant had more than 70,000 pounds of ammonium nitrate inside of it.

"We got explosive trucks in here that are trying to maneuver away from the fire. I don't where they're going to get to go though," a firefighter said.

The fire eventually grew to 1,658 acres and at least 18 fire agencies spent four days extinguishing the blaze, but there was only one home that got destroyed by the fire.

"Like I said, go ahead and send everything you can down here. This fire is not under control and it jumped the county road," a firefighter said.

The Texas A&M Forest Service reported later that same evening that the fire burned through the Orica Plant, but the areas with the explosives were untouched by the blaze, which proved to be a miracle due to the amount of concern that the firefighters had expressed about the situation in the 911 calls.

"All kinds of flames in here on this explosives property," a firefighter said.

The cause of the fire has not been released.

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