Flames engulfed a plastics company near Dallas on Wednesday, sending plumes of toxic smoke over the skies of north Texas and threatening to knock out power in the area, authorities said.
A power line, possibly damaged in recent storms, fell into a storage area of the Poly-America manufacturing plant in Grand Prairie, touching off the massive blaze at around midnight, Grand Prairie Assistant fire Chief Bill Murphy said.
"Our biggest problem is, this is a lot of plastic," Murphy told NBC Dallas. "It burns very hot."
The fire, which is about 20 miles west of downtown Dallas, could last for several days.
"You got to have a lot of foam to put on it," Murphy said. "There's just not enough foam to put on this large of a fire."
Local and state environmental authorities rushed to the scene to conduct air quality tests.
"Persons with underlying conditions should avoid the area or self-evacuate as needed," according to a fire department statement.
Resident Hector Rodrigues said he couldn't believe his eyes as he witnessed the massive blaze.
"Flames shot up, probably about 300, 400, 500 feet up into the sky," he said. "It just kept burning."
Murphy warned residents of the suburbs west of Dallas to brace for possible power outages.
"It's not a matter of if, but when, they (nearby power lines) collapse," Murphy said. "It could have a domino effect. Once one goes, it could pull all the lines down for up to a half a mile. "
But Oncor Electric Delivery Company (ONCOR) insisted it was able to shut down lines near the fire and reroute power to nearby homes and businesses. By late Wednesday afternoon, only 30 customers in the area were in the dark, ONCOR spokeswoman Kerri Dunn said.
There were no immediate injuries reported.