Dust / Plant Safety

Tortilla Chip Factory Spontaneously Combusts in Austin, Texas

By Erin Hallstrom, Digital

Jul 25, 2018

There are numerous ways to add fire to your chips, but we're pretty certain, this was not the way a tortilla chip warehouse in Austin, Texas was thinking.

The Austin Fire Department reported on its Facebook page that it was called to a fire at a tortilla chip warehouse twice in the same week to respond to spontaneously combusting tortilla chips.

As any plant operations employee knows, dust is a big deal in manufacturing plants that deal with grains and dust particles. In fact, we just reported about this topic here: Powder And Bulk Handling Systems Playing A Bigger Role In Food Manufacturing.

In this instance, the factory in question was trying out a new way to handle the waste from the chips.

According to the fire department, the fire was confined to the exterior of the building and to multiple pallets of food waste. Unfortunately, boxes of the same waste continued to ignite while the firefighters were on the scene.

Adding fire to the flame, three days later, the fire department was called back to the scene because the same factory had the same spontaneous combustion issue from the not-yet-involved boxes.

Sadly, chips were harmed in the fire. Fortunately, no firefighters sustained any injuries or damage.