No serious injuries were reported Saturday after a massive fire at a northwest Indiana shipping company that sent an incredible plume of black smoke skyward.
The fire broke out shortly before 9 a.m. at Bulk Express, located just southeast of the intersection of 131st Place and Sheffield Avenue in North Hammond. The company specializes in transporting coal tar, asphalt and oil products.
A fire official said the fire started while employees were trying to torch product as it came out of an asphalt tanker. The flames spread to two adjacent buildings, and crews had to use extreme caution because of propane tanks in the area.
The fire could have been much worse had crews not gotten fire-fighting foam on it as fast as they did, a fire official told NBC Chicago.
One employee was hurt while trying to leave the area after the fire started. That person was transported to a nearby hospital with back pain but the injury wasn't believed to be serious.
The buildings and the tanker are a total loss, an official said.
Two nearby homes were temporarily evacuated as a precaution.