Car Hits South Hill, VA, Fertilizer Plant Which Erupts in Flames

July 7, 2024
Firefighters from around South Hill responded as fire engulfed the fertilizer plant.

Two firefighters and another person were hurt Saturday as fire spread through a Fertilizer plant in South Hill, prompting an evacuation.

"It contains a lot of fertilizers and chemicals so I knew right off it wouldn't be an easy fire with the very old warehouse," eyewitness Ken Currin told WRAL. "And with the heat and conditions, it is not a good day for fires."

The fire, at Nutrien Ag Solutions, was reported just before 2 p.m. after a vehicle struck the large building.

In video obtained by WTVR, a propane tank that was struck by the vehicle could be seen burning, which spread to the building.

Scott Tucker, who saw the accident, said the propane tank "landed perfectly in front of a window and blew flames inside." "He added that the area of the building first impacted was was cardboard and hazardous materials were stored.

Police evacuated a half-mile radius of the building as the fire grew, and urged others to shelter in place. 

Dozens of firefighters from the region responded as the blaze burned and they worked in temperatures around 100 degrees.

Firefighters used aerial ladders to surround the building.

"A great job was done to protect all of the multiple exposures on each side of the warehouse which was very old and full of very flammable products," drone pilot Ken Currin told WTVR.

Six hours later, officials said the fire was completely contained.

Water run-off from the fire was traveling to creeks, and crews were monitoring that situation.

South Hill fire officials said hazardous materials crews will remain on scene to monitor the atmosphere around the building.

About the Author

Susan Nicol | News Editor

Susan Nicol is the news editor for She is a life member and active with the Brunswick Volunteer Ambulance & Rescue Company, Oxford Fire Company and Brunswick Vol. Fire Co. Susie has been an EMT in Maryland since 1976. Susie is vice-president of the Frederick County Fire/Rescue Museum. She is on the executive committee of Frederick County Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association. She also is part of the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems (MIEMSS) Region II EMS Council. Susie is a board member of the American Trauma Society, Maryland Division. Prior to joining the Firehouse team, she was a staff writer for The Frederick News-Post, covering fire, law enforcement, court and legislative issues.