Massachusetts Greenhouse Destroyed In Ball Of Fire

Witnesses said propane tanks exploded, producing fireballs that could be seen for miles.


A spectacular night fire, punctuated by exploding propane tanks, destroyed part of a greenhouse business in Raynham.

The fire broke out at Olson's Greenhouses at about 10 p.m. Tuesday. The flames turned the night sky orange, and propane tanks used to heat the greenhouses exploded.

No injuries were reported.

The Raynham Fire Department sounded four alarms and called in firefighters from surrounding communities. It took about three hours to get the flames under control.

Firefighters worried the smoke might have contained potentially dangerous fertilizers and pesticides. The Raynham Fire Department called in a hazardous materials team as a precaution.

The state Department of Environmental Management sent agents to investigate risks, including whether runoff from hoses caused any contamination.

Owner Clive Olson said he lost plants and equipment. His business employs about 40 people.

"It gives us a serious setback right now," he said.

The fire destroyed the rear third of the greenhouse complex. Investigators will dig through rubble to find out what caused it.

"The upper range, which is about 100,000 square feet, that's still intact. We're trying to get the electricity back into it now," Olson said. "It's the lower range where we have the major problem."

Olson's staffers are moving plants that survived to other greenhouses whose owners offered help.

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