Firefighters respond to the call of a fire in the structure, which turned out to be a hazardous materials accident, at Wells Concrete in Cary on Tuesday morning. | Photo: CFPD

Fire officials said 70 employees were evacuated after chemicals were improperly mixed and caused a plume of steam to go up inside a factory near Cary on Tuesday morning.

At about 7:47 a.m. Tuesday, the Cary Fire District responded to Wells Concrete, 4012 Northwest Highway in unincorporated Cary, to a call to start a fire at the structure.

Firefighters arrived within five minutes and met staff, who initially reported a fire in the building, according to Cary District Fire Protection Lt. Michael Douglas.

Another investigation revealed that there was no fire but a hazardous materials accident.

Firefighters respond to the call of a fire in the structure, which turned out to be a hazardous materials accident, at Wells Concrete in Cary on Tuesday morning. | Photo: CFPD

The accident resulted in a steam column rising inside the building.

Douglas said Wells Concrete employees were mixing chemicals in a 55-gallon drum as part of their normal work process.

They did not mix the correct concentrations, causing a chemical chain reaction.

Douglas said the chemical began seeping out of the cylinder and produced a steam column in the building’s production area.

Prior to evacuation, personnel dumped an absorbent material over the spilled area which stopped the chemical chain reaction.

Several attic doors were left open so that the shaft could be ventilated from the building.

Firefighters respond to the call of a fire in the structure, which turned out to be a hazardous materials accident, at Wells Concrete in Cary on Tuesday morning. | Photo: CFPD

There were 70 employees in the building at the time and they were able to evacuate safely.

Douglas said the hazardous materials technicians met with company representatives to review the chemicals involved.

The building was ventilated after the leak was mitigated and crews monitored to verify that the building was safe.

The Wonder Lake Fire Department were specially called to the scene with their airboat.

Douglas said the airboat had a large fan and was positioned by an overhead door to ventilate the entire building.

Also responded to the scene were firefighters from Algonquin Lake in the Hills, Barrington Village, Barrington Countryside, Fox River Grove, Nonda Rural and Wukunda.

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