Updated: Fire Ruins Milton Business - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Updated: Fire Ruins Milton Business

Posted: Updated:
Photos of Friday morning's fire in Milton, Del. (Credit: Jennifer Lawrence) Photos of Friday morning's fire in Milton, Del. (Credit: Jennifer Lawrence)

MILTON, Del.- Authorities are investigating a Friday morning fire that left a Milton area septic pumping company in ruins.  

The Delaware State Fire Marshal's Office said the blaze broke out just before 7 a.m. Friday at Clean Delaware LLC,, located on the 14000 block of Isaac's Road. The Milton Volunteer Fire Company, assisted by the Ellendale, Georgetown, Greenwood, Houston, Indian River, Lewes, Slaughter Beach and South Bowers fire companies, extinguished the blaze. 

According to investigators, the company's 90-foot by 60-foot wastewater treatment facility was fully involved when firefighters arrived on the scene. A propane tank located behind the facility exploded shortly after their arrival. The structure and approximately 12 vehicles were destroyed. There were no reported injuries.

The incident is still under investigation. Damages have been estimated at $750,000.

"It was engulfed in flames," said Jeane Lovenguth, a neighbor to the business. "It was just nothing but flames back there. You could hardly tell what it was." 

"It was just a ball of fire that went up in the air," she continued. "And then the black smoke just billowed. I don't know how they even controlled it."

Milton Fire Chief JR Clark said the conditions were a nightmare for firefighters. The heavy winds carried the flames, even allowing it to jump across an adjacent body of water, lighting up some trees on the other side. On top of that, Clark said the cold temperatures makes the job just that much more difficult.

"In the cold weather things don't always work their best," he said. "We were worrying about the water freezing. Worrying about the pumps freezing on the trucks. It's a lot. Worrying about guys getting frostbite."

Environmental scientists from the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control were on scene Friday afternoon, to deal with the possible threat of petroleum contamination.

"Several vehicles were involved in the fire," said Matthew Higgins of DNREC. "And there was a release of various petroleum products from the vehicles. Motor fuels, oils, things like that. And there needs to be a cleanup done."

Clean Delaware LLC officials did not offer a comment other than to say that they "remain in business."

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