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West Ghent evacuation ordered early Thursday

Aug 02, 2012 2:15 am
[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="960"]Photo of TCI fire, about 2 a.m. Thu., Aug., 2. Photo by Jeffrey Lependorf.[/caption]UPDATE FROM COL. CTY EMERGENCY SERVICES: Discard garden produce with visible soot/ash on its surface. Otherwise, all produce from any garden should be thoroughly washed with clean water and or peeled prior to consumption. Extra care should be taken with leafy vegetables, as their leaves may trap soot/ash. Constituents in soot/ash that may remain on the surface of soil are not likely to be taken up into plants or vegetables. In most areas (i.e., areas where there is no or only minor evidence of ash or soot) ample watering (or rain) is expected to be sufficient to reduce presence of soot/ash in surface
soil. However, if there is extensive deposition of soot/ash (e.g., a thick visible layer) you could consider removing and discarding the soot/ash, and then tilling the soil or adding clean soil at a future date.
Exposure of pets to soot from the fire is not expected to harm them. If your pet is dirty or dusty with soot from the fire, you may wish to wash them with an appropriate shampoo or soap. If the water or food supply for pets is visibly contaminated with soot, it should be replaced. If you are concerned about substantial amounts of soot indoors or outdoors, follow the “General Recommendations for Clean-up of Soot/Ash from the TCI of New York Facility Fire.”
Home Drinking Water Wells:
Contamination of home drinking water wells from this event is extremely unlikely. People can continue to use their wells as they normally would.

UPDATE FROM DEC: Department of Environmental Conservation statement: "Real-time air testing for particulate and volatile organic compounds found nothing of concern. Swipe tests for PCBs were non-detect. Further confirmatory testing is being conducted with similar results are expected. Soil samples will be taken once we can access the ground but we will not have that information until site is cleared."

UPDATE from press conference (in progress) (2 p.m.): Fire is 99 percent out, should be fully out shortly... EPA testing of air quality shows everything is at "normal levels"... residue from soot was tested and found PCB's "non-detectable"... the 15-mile radius "advisory zone" will be lifted... "If wiping soot off with damp rags, they should be placed in a plastic bag and wait further information on what to do with them," according to Columbia County Ememrgency Services website.

UPDATE from Columbia County Emergency Services (12:25 p.m.): The 15-mile radius is still in effect. For information on livestock calling within Columbia County please call 518-301-2021. For information calling outside of Columbia County please call 518-292-2311

UPDATE from Columbia County 911 (7:49 a.m.): Out of an abundance of caution, it is recommended that anyone with a 15-mile radius of the incident (Route 9H/Falls Rd, Ghent) limit outdoor activity... remain indoors. State Health Department officials are conducting air quality tests in the vicinity of the fire. Out of an abundance of caution, please remain indoors and limit outside activity. Anyone experiencing eye irritation, difficulty breathing or cough should seek medical attention. For additional information, contact the Columbia County Health Department at 518-828-3358 ext. 1293.

John Mason reported in the Register-Star "a state of emergency had been declared and a mandatory evacuation had been implemented for those in a half-mile radius of TCI on Route 9H in West Ghent," at 12:15 a.m. Thur., Aug. 2, A giant fire at the company that has disposed of electrical equipment, PCBs and bulk oil for at least two decades, began before 10:15 p.m. Wed., Aug. 1. Mason reported County Emergency Management Director William Black said the building contained big mineral oil tanks, two tractor trailers of fuel oil, fork lifts with propane tanks, and other hazardous substances. “It’s the combination when they mix we have to be concerned with,” Black said. “There’s sodium in there.” The sodium comes from transformers disposed of at TCI. Multiple county fire departments along with the county Hazmat team responded to the fire. This was TCI’s second fire in less than a year. In January, a fire broke out in two dump trailers filled with pallets and dirty rags, standing next to trailers of mineral oil. The fire was quickly contained. Read the full story at the Register Star.
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