By Ken Ward Jr.
27 October 2017

(Charleston Gazette Mail) – Officials reported more progress on Friday putting out the fire that’s been burning for a week at a Parkersburg plastics and chemical warehouse, but West Virginia’s top public health officer cautioned that it’s too soon to make definitive statements about the long-term health effects of smoke and fallout from the inferno at Intercontinental Export Import Inc.’s facility.

Dr. Rahul Gupta, commissioner of the state Bureau for Public Health, said his office and other health agencies need much more information — particularly the inventory of materials that burned in the fire — before they can give the community much detail about the potential health impacts.

“It’s important to know the facts and we don’t have all the facts right now,” Gupta said in an interview Friday morning.

On Thursday, after the fire had been burning for five days, the state Department of Environmental Protection issued an enforcement order to compel Intercontinental Export Import to “immediately” provide an inventory of materials stored at its warehouse in the former site of Ames True Temper tool factory in south Parkersburg. Officials have said a search of state records revealed that no inventories of those materials had been filed under the state and federal chemical right-to-know law that requires such disclosures for certain chemicals if stored in certain amounts.

DEP Deputy Director Scott Mandirola also ordered the company, known as IEI, to provide within 10 days inventories of the materials of other similar warehouses it owns or operates in the Wood County area. The website of Green Sustainable Solutions LLC, a company related to IEI, lists six warehouses in the Parkersburg area, along with one each in Florence, South Carolina, and Richmond, Virginia.

On Friday afternoon, Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety spokesman Lawrence Messina issued an email update that said incident commander Mark Stewart, chief of the Lubeck Volunteer Fire Department, estimated the fire was 90 percent extinguished. The update said that the goal for firefighters was to “knock down” what remains of the fire overnight Friday and Saturday. [more]

Progress on Parkersburg warehouse fire, but questions remain about impacts


Wind carries the smoke plume from a huge fire at an old Ames Tool Plant in Parkersburg, West Virgina, that started on 21 October 2017. Photo: Andrew J. Edgar

By Stephanie Dube Dwilson
26 October 2017

(Heavy) –  Officials are still trying to determine what materials are in the warehouse and how local residents’ health might be affected from a huge fire at an old Ames Tool Plant in Parkersburg. The fire began burning on Friday and although the main fire was put out on Saturday, crews have still been extinguishing continued hot spots all week, AP reported. Wood County officials said they don’t know exactly when the fire will be completely out. Anyone with respiratory problems are smell sensitivity is still being asked to stay indoors. The Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department, however, recommended everyone remain indoors if possible, with windows and doors closed, until they can’t detect any smell. If there’s a smell in your area, don’t run the AC or heater if you can avoid it.

1. DuPont Does Not Own the Warehouse

The old Ames Tool Plant is owned by Intercontinental Export Import Inc. (IEI). Polymer Alliances Services and Intercontinental Export Import are part of a SirNaik group of companies — a waste management company.

Many posts shared on social media have incorrectly said that DuPont owns the warehouse, but this isn’t accurate. DuPont Co. told the Gazette-Mail that it’s not affiliated with the former Ames warehouse. However, Intercontinental Export Import did purchase products from DuPont’s Washington Works plant and was storing those products at the warehouse.

2. The City Still Doesn’t Know What’s Burning in the Warehouse

It’s not known exactly what materials are in the warehouse, the Charleston Gazette-Mail reported. A state of emergency was declared on Monday to help with the firefighting and environmental tests. Records that might have indicated what was in the warehouse were destroyed in the fire, but officials are looking for electronic records that can help. [more]

Parkersburg Fire at Old Ames Warehouse: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

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