ANCHORAGE - The massive plume of smoke over Anchorage Thursday evening was caused by a fire in an asphalt mix.
A fire department official, Battalion Chief Jim Vignola, says the Northern Gravel and Trucking business had been heating a 3,200-gallon mix of asphalt and diesel for three days to make pliable in the cold. Something sparked the mix to explode.
Witnesses told the Anchorage Daily News flames shot 20 feet in the air. Firefighters worked into the night, with water from hoses running off and freezing on the ground.
No one was injured.