Displaced Residents Await Test Results From Adam's Plating Fire

By: Sherene Tagharobi Email
By: Sherene Tagharobi Email

The Environmental Protection Agency is still waiting on test results before giving residents displaced by a fire at Adam's Plating the go ahead to move back into their homes. The fire happened more than a week ago.

Those test results are expected back sometime this evening or tomorrow morning.

If they come back with any contamination, the state and county health departments will have to decide if the levels are low enough to be deemed safe, but some residents don't want to take any chances.

"I think they should tear it right down, get rid of it," said Kara Strunk, who lives a block away from the Adam's Plating site. "who knows what's in it, all those chemicals."

What's in it is hazardous chemicals like Chromium VI, but On-Scene Coordinator Jeff Lippert says there's no more short-term threat.

"All the contaminants were moved back into the site. Everything is contained in there and the emergency to human health and the environment is over," said Lippert.

But the long-term threat is not. Lippert says there's still a chance dangerous materials could seep out.

"Weather, vandalism, trespassing, those kinds of things would potentially cause a release to the environment," he said.

MSU Environmental Engineering Professor Thomas Voice says it's impossible to clean up everything after a spill or explosion.

"How clean is clean? Because whenever you contaminate something you have some left behind, just like when you drop the whole pot of spaghetti sauce in your kitchen, you probably find tomato paste around for weeks," he said.

Voice says Chromium VI is a known carcinogen, linked with lung, stomach, and intestinal cancers.

"If it's in the air in the form of particles, which is likely in a case like this, you might have residuals left after the water evaporates, you breathe it in, it goes in through your lungs, goes into your blood stream," he said.

That's enough to concern Strunk -- who is even more worried for her friends living next door to the site.

"We were nervous about it just being a block down," she said.

Voice says the EPA must decide how much testing to do before they deem the site safe.

"How sure do you need to be? The more measurements you take, the more sure you can be of the answer, but we don't have infinite resources," he said.

The EPA will be back in four to six weeks to clean up the plating shop itself.

That's how long it takes to secure funding and contracters.

Rosemary street has opened back up to traffic.

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  • by charleigh on Jan 6, 2011 at 06:56 AM
    So have they told how the fire started? And how is the owner doing after his injuries? A little more information, please.
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