Tucson Fire say an explosion at the Jojoba processing plant in the 2100 block of Beverly Drive, near East 22nd and Kino, led to a fire around 11:40 p.m.. According to TFD, six employees were inside at the time of the explosion and were able to escape but not without injuries. Fire Captain Andrew Skaggs says five employees had to be taken to the hospital but there is no word on their conditions.
The first unit on scene reported heavy fire and a partial building collapse. Firefighters and paramedics quickly began treating victims will fire crews battled the flames from outside.
One witness says they heard a loud boom and then "a giant fireball."
Getting a better look at the damage to the Desert Whale jojoba processing plant this morning after it exploded. 7 hrs later, crews STILL extinguishing flare ups. pic.twitter.com/5cQrXZxP6f
A second alarm was called for additional resources, where a total of 19 units and 46 firefighters worked to get the fire under control. It took almost two and a half hours and at times, TFD says approximately 4,000 gallons of water was used per minute.
TFD says it is "most likely the fire will be a total loss." Fire investigators are working to learn what led to the explosion. The explosion caused a gas pipe fire, but that fire isn't burning anymore.
Fire crews did encounter problems when fighting the flames including power lines, a broken gas line, a broken fire sprinkler line and a partial building collapse. Southwest Gas, Tucson Electric Power and Tucson Water did help firefighters control utilities. There were no injuries to firefighters.
Stay with KGUN9 and KGUN9.com for more information on this developing story.