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Justice gets update on warehouse fire cleanup

PARKERSBURG, W.Va.¬†—¬†Solid waste removal at the site of a large warehouse fire last October in Parkersburg is expected to be completed in about a month, Gov. Jim Justice Thursday.

Gov. Jim Justice thanked first responders in Wood County Thursday.

Justice traveled to Parkersburg to get an update on the work at the IEI site and to thank first responders who battled the fire for several days.

Contractors working for IEI have removed nearly 16,000 tons of solid waste and more than 2,100 tons of charred metal. The solid waste removal has a target completion date of Sept. 17.

State DEP Homeland Security and Emergency Response Director Rusty Joins said the initial fighting of the fire by local fire departments and the quick response of the governor’s office with much needed financial support helped get control of the blaze.

“Monday morning (after the fire began on Saturday) there was a contractor in there that specializes in that kind of work. That wouldn’t have happened (without the governor’s help). So it would have been back to the locals to try to either fund the contractor or put the fire out by their own means,” Joins said.

Justice issued a check to Wood County officials in early December for $1.466 million to reimburse them for expenses related to fighting the fire.

After the solid waste is removed, consultants for IEI will submit a final cleanup report to the DEP for review, Joins said.

Just like other large events, Joins said there may be future regulations or bills considered in connection with what was learned during the fire event.

“I don’t think that it’s going to go away and people are just going to forget about it. You can think about other events that have happened that have created a great impact on the state that resulted in legislative changes or other types of changes to the attitudes of what’s going on around us,” Joins said.

Other work at the site has included:

–a project to divert stormwater to an onsite impoundment where contractors installed a treatment system to collect and treat the water before it’s discharged.

–as part of the Voluntary Remediation Program requirements, the site will continue to receive an annual inspection to ensure that the concrete caps and the clean soil cap is in place are being maintained to prevent any harm to human health and the environment.

–soil impacted with lead in the Clean Soil Cap Area was not harmed or disturbed during the fire or cleanup of the site.

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