Deadly chemical plant fire illustrates need for mass notification

March 24, 2011, LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- A blaze at Carbide Industries that has been burning since Monday's deadly explosion is finally out. The explosion and fire killed two of the plant's workers.

There were several fire and hazmat teams at the plant Thursday morning.

They were trying to make as many safe entrances into the building where the fire has been burning since Monday. The fire was on the third level of the building, which firefighters said made it difficult to put out.

There was also concern about the chemical inside the damaged building. If it comes in contact with water it could explode.

That means the weather could become a factor. Officials said they don't know how long the area will be dangerous.

City leaders are hoping to ease community concerns over current notification systems in potentially dangerous situations.

The city has already taken control of the Rubbertown R Call alert hot line and plans to upgrade the current citywide alert system.

It’s a system many in the metro didn't realize existed.

“We call it the dialogic notification system. It allows us to make notifications to geographic areas and call out limited information,” said Jim Bottom with Metro Emergency Management.

Bottom said the system was used successfully Wednesday for Butchertown residents during the situation at the JBS Swift plant.

Mayor Greg Fischer is urging for a more robust system.

“The new system would do exactly what our current one does; it would allow for geographic notification. An addition that we don't currently have is the self-registration option. You go on and put your own info in. That's a very common option out there that our current system doesn't have,” Bottom said.

There is no time frame in place for enacting a new system or how much that might cost taxpayers.

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