CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A warehouse fire that has been burning for almost a week in Parkersburg is now estimated to be 90 percent extinguished.
That estimate came from the incident commander at the fire, Lubeck Fire Chief Mark Stewart.
The goal is to knock down what remains of the fire overnight tonight and Saturday, according to an update provided by Lawrence Messina, spokesman for the state Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety.
Once that it accomplished, the site will be closely monitored for 36 to 48 hours for any flare-ups, Messina said. Only after that cool-down period will Incident Command consider declaring the fire completely extinguished, he added.
Wood County Commission President Blair Couch conveyed progress on Thursday during a regular commission meeting.
“The progress is evident,” Couch said in a story by the Parkersburg News and Sentinel. “Their efforts are going very well.”
Crews from Specialized Professional Services Inc., a contractor specializing in hazardous material situations, were brought in to help local volunteer firefighters.
“They have made a lot of progress up into the site,” Couch said. “They are trying to clear out some of the debris so they have more room to work. It is an amazing operation.”
U.S. EPA’s Region 3 office earlier Friday announced airborne support for the ongoing response to the warehouse fire.
EPA’s Airborne Spectral Photometric Environmental Collection Technology aircraft was deployed at the request of state and Wood County officials.
The ASPECT plane is being used to provide high resolution images to help determine hot spots inside the deep layers of debris for the safety of the firefighters and to help in completely extinguishing the fire. The ASPECT aircraft performed an overflight overnight and at 11 a.m. today.
Meanwhile, the state Division of Environmental Protection was to post hundreds of additional air quality monitoring results on its website this afternoon. The information, which will be continuously updated, is available online here.
The 420,000 square feet of property, which was storing recyclable plastics for a small business, caught fire early Saturday morning and has been burning ever since, sending a plume of smoke billowing over the city and across the Ohio border.
On Thursday, The DEP issued an order to Intercontinental Export Import, Inc., demanding immediate information about what materials were stored on the property. DEP is also demanding to know how IEI plans to properly dispose of the material.