Tragic Fire at South Hill Fertilizer Warehouse: One Woman Dead, Over a Dozen Firefighters Injured

A devastating fire at a fertilizer warehouse in South Hill, Virginia, resulted in the death of one woman and injuries to more than a dozen firefighters on Saturday.

Preliminary findings from the South Hill Police Department indicate that the fire erupted when a woman crashed her vehicle into a Nutrien Ag Solutions facility on West Danville Street, striking a propane tank. The impact displaced the tank by 10 to 20 feet, causing it to spew flames like a “flamethrower,” according to authorities.

At least 15 firefighters suffered from chemical exposure, heat exhaustion, and minor injuries such as scrapes and burns. They were transported to VCU Community Memorial Hospital, with only one firefighter still hospitalized as of Sunday afternoon.

Fire crews are anticipated to stay on the scene for several days following the major blaze that engulfed the Nutrien Ag Solutions facility.

By 8 p.m., the fire was fully contained thanks to the extensive efforts of regional agencies, including the Warren County fire departments. The incident occurred during a period of extreme heat, with heat index values surpassing 100 degrees in parts of North Carolina and Virginia.

“We knew all the chemicals were in it, so it’s pretty much just fuel on the fire. It’s a big bomb, really,” Firefighter Rickie Bowen said. “We could hear the explosions inside the building, which I assume were chemical tanks.”

Image credit: Brandon Turley