UPDATE: More inspections at Naik company sites in Wood County

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PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) - Update: 11/03/2017 11:30 A.M.

More inspectiions of properties owned by the Naik Companies-and other owners-have been made, in the wake of the October fire at the IEI Plastics Recycling warehouse.

Parkersburg Fire Chief Jason Matthews says members of his department were among those conducting the inspections Thursday, at the sites located in the city of Parkersburg.

Employees at those properties, Matthews said, are working to correct several issues, including testing for working sprinkler systems, and items stacked higher than accepted. A plan of action, he said, is being formed.

Questions about a working sprinkler system have been raised about the Camden Avenue warehouse, from when firefighters responded to fires in 2008 and 2012.

Lawrence Messina, Director of Communications for the West Virginia Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety, says, "the State Fire Marshal’s Office plans to release findings from the ongoing inspections once they are concluded and their results are assessed. We can say that no imminent dangers have yet been identified by the inspections".


UPDATE: 11/02/2017, 12:04 P.M.

As the owners of IEI move forward with remediation plans at the company's Camden Avenue warehouse that was destroyed by fire, state officials are planning more local inspections.

"We are working quick to identify the right parties that both have an interest in our community and the skill set and assets to properly accomplish the work," company representative Sunny Naik said in a letter to Wood County officials on Wednesday.

In the letter made public at today's Wood County Commission meeting, Naik says the company has hired Bosley Construction to erect a fence around the property.

He also says company officials will be guarding the property at night until a security detail can be arranged.

Company officials also are meeting with "local experts" to devise a water-management plan that is "sustainable on a long term."

Naik says meetings with consultants will take place over the next two days.

The plan will address water containment and treatment with the "environment at the highest concern," the letter says.

The letter also says the company is working with two landfill companies concerning removal of debris from the property and will hire an environmental specialist to "perform material sampling and waste classification."

A report on the plan will be provided to the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection.

Meanwhile, the DEP said Thursday that representatives of the West Virginia State Fire Marshal's Office and the DEP will be inspecting 12 different sites over the "next several days."

Some of those sites are affiliated with IEI, while some are warehouse properties in the area of the fire scene that have no connections to IEI.

The DEP also says it's still compiling a list of local properties affiliated with IEI.


UPDATE: 11/01/2017

Firefighters went back to the scene Wednesday at around 7:20 p.m. because of reports from neighbors about smoke.

They say it didn't actually rekindle. What happened is debris was moved, which kicked up some smoke.


Update: 11/01/2017 5:40 P.M.

A fence has been constructed around the Camden Avenue site of the IEI Plastics Recycling fire, in an attempt to secure the debris from the now-extinguished fire.


UPDATE: 10/31/17 1:30 P.M.

Camden Avenue is open in front of the IEI Plastics property as of Tuesday morning.

The 48 hour monitoring period has ended, and everything left at the property is in the responsibility of the owner Dr. Saurabh Naik.

UPDATE: 10/30/17 4:20 P.M.
The Wood County Assessor's Mapping Office confirmed nine warehouses in Wood County also affiliated with Dr. Saurabh Naik. These locations are owned by IEI Plastics, Evergreen Holdings LLC, Surnaik Holdings LLC, Polymer Alliance Services and Upendera Naik.

According to the West Virginia Secretary of State Business Organization Details, Naik is the organizer of Surnaik Holdings LLC, Polymer Alliance Services LLC and Evergreen Holdings LLC.

The location of those warehouses are:
Evergreen Holdings LLC 814 Jeanette Street, Parkersburg
Evergreen Holdings LLC 821 Jeanette Street, Parkersburg
Evergreen Holdings LLC 250 60th Street, Vienna
Evergreen Holdings LLC Industrial Park at Poplar Street and 29th Street
Evergreen Holdings LLC 822 Depot Street, Parkersburg
Evergreen Holdings LLC 625 Depot Street, Parkersburg
Surniak Holdings LLC, 3307 Camden Avenue
IEI Plastics 3401 Camden Avenue
Polymer Alliance Services, 77 Warehouse Drive, Parkersburg

Update: 10/30/2017 11:00 A.M>

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection says it has some preliminary information on the contents of the now-destroyed IEI Plastics warehouse in South Parkersburg.

A DEP representative made that statement at a meeting with the Wood County Commission Monday morning. He said it came late Sunday afternoon, from the son of the property's owner, who pledged to provide more information Monday.


UPDATE: 10/29/2017 11:55 P.M.

Lubeck Volunteer Fire Department Chief, Mark Stewart, gave a statement at 12:30 Sunday on the state of the fire at Intercontinental Export Import. Stewart said, "We're in the 204th hour of this fire fight and as of 11:30 this morning we shut off all water supply going to the fire scene. We had a meeting with the contractors and our command staff at noon and we have all agreed that the fire is officially out. As for the next 36-48 hours the contractor will be on site as well as command, just to monitor for any flare ups or hot spots. If he have none then our job here is done and we will walk away and go home."

Stewart led the command in fire fighting efforts at the former Ames plant. An estimated 75 million gallons of water were used on site over the course of the week. President of Wood County Commission, Blair Couch says, "that water has to go somewhere and the responsibility of that is to the property owner. And so they have an environmental concern that will not be addressed by putting a chain linked fence and forgetting about this. Its not fair to the community, its not fair those that live in south Parkersburg it's not fair to the those that live around this to have 'this' sitting as their neighborhood." He explains, "There's going to have to be a massive cleanup and I sure hope the responsible party will step up to the job to make that a pretty grass field."

Camden Avenue will remain closed in front of the scene. Many moving parts made extinguishing this fire possible. Couch says, "this has been humbling to watch all these people come and state agencies and federal agencies and outside agencies, everybody that we could bring over the course of 204 hours to fight a fire."

The fight had help from 39 total fire departments in two states, estimating over 250 fire fighters. Couch adds, "All the fire departments that responded here, the 39, it goes without saying that all ten of the fire departments in wood county would respond the same to a neighbor."

Now that the fire is out, Couch says the EPA will try to work with the property owner to make sure the area gets cleaned up. The property owner's son declined to comment on the current whereabouts of his father, Saurabh Naik. However, he did inform us that he and his father will be in Parkersburg with a statement later this week.

The EPA is continuing to test air quality while the scene cools down. So far their results show rapidly declining numbers, according to Couch. The West Virginia State Fire Marshall's office will start investigating on the property once the debris is cool to the touch, to find the cause.

UPDATE: 10/29/2017 12:35 P.M.

Officials say the IEI warehouse fire is out.

According to a news release, Incident Commander, Lubeck Fire Chief Mark Stewart says the last of the fire was extinguished around noon on Sunday.

There is now a 36-48 hour cool down phase. Fightfighters will no longer be putting water on the site, but will be watching for flare-ups.

Officials will continue to monitor air quality.


UPDATE: 10/28/2017 11:50 P.M.

Chief Stewart says on Friday they saw 60 hot spots at the site. On Saturday, he says that number dropped to 2.


UPDATE: 10/27/2017, 3:42 P.M.

On behalf of Incident Command, there is some good news to share:

The Incident Commander, Lubeck Fire Chief Mark Stewart, estimates that the fire is *90 percent* extinguished, thanks to the ongoing efforts of first responders and the SPSI team.

The goal is to knock down what remains of the fire overnight tonight and Saturday.

Once that it accomplished, the site will be closely monitored for 36 to 48 hours for any flare-ups.

Only after that cool-down period will Incident Command consider declaring the fire completely extinguished.


UPDATE: 10/27/17 09:15 A.M.

Federal help is on the way as efforts to to put out the still-smoldering IEI plastics warehouse fire.

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection announced Friday morning that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is sending an aircraft equipped with technology that can provide high-resolution images inside the debris. It will be used to locate hot spots that continue to burn.

"At the request of state and Wood County officials, EPA’s Airborne Spectral Photometric Environmental Collection Technology (ASPECT) aircraft is being deployed to Parkersburg, West Virginia," the DEP says in a news release.

The fire at the warehouse on Camden Avenue has been burning since 12:30 a.m. Saturday.


UPDATE: 10/26/2017 4:51 P.M.

Students in Wood County will get another day off on Friday, meaning they will have had a full week away from classes because of the fire at the IEI plastics warehouse on Camden Avenue.

As the Board of Education works to make sure the air in its buildings is safe to breathe, the fire remains visible from Fairplains Elementary School, the school closest to the fire.

School officials will be changing the air filters in all of the school system's 89 buildings.

Assistance Superintendent Mike Fling says between 30 and 40 workers will work through the weekend to get it done.

Meanwhile, real-time air-quality testing is wrapping up on Thursday. Fling says school officials hope to have the results on Friday.

The testing is being done by the same company Wood County officials hired to test air quality in the Mid-Ohio Valley in the aftermath of the fire.

Flings say the Arkansas-based Center for Toxicology and Environmental Health brought in additional workers to do the testing so the work in the schools would not drain resources being deployed elsewhere in Wood County.

If all goes as planned, Fling says students should be back in the classroom on Monday.


UPDATE: 10/26/2017, 2:13 P.M.

At WVU-Parkersburg, several classes and public events have been canceled, rescheduled or relocated as follows:

WVU Parkersburg MAIN CAMPUS ONLY will be closed through Friday, Oct. 27 until 11 p.m.

The MOV Comfort Case Donation Drive scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 26 has been relocated to Sunrise Baptist Church in Parkersburg from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Community Education classes scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 26 and Friday, Oct. 27 are also canceled.

The ACT exam scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 28 will be rescheduled.

Nest Fest dress up days and chili cook-off are rescheduled for the week of Oct. 30 through Nov. 3.

The Wood County School District says all Wood County Schools will be in a "Code C" closure on Friday, Oct. 27.

And School District employees will spend the next few days installing new air filters in all Wood County Schools buildings, in time for classes to resume on Monday, October 30th if smoke and air quality conditions allow.


UPDATE: 10/26/2017 2:00 P.M.

Day six on the scene of IEI, Inc. Officials are all still doing their field work.

Wood County Commissioner Blair Couch says the situation is improving, but there is no estimated time frame on when the fire will be out.

Couch says, "with today and tomorrows weather we are hopeful."

Officials say right now air quality is at a moderate level, the county is still testing and looking to reach the green level.

The air temperature is not allowing that smoke to move quickly.

Authorities add the smell is not necessarily going to dissipate.

Those at risk to smell sensitivity or respiratory problems are still advised by the DEP to stay indoors.

A press conference will be held when the fire is put out.


UPDATE: 10/26/2017, 1:28 P.M.

The Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department released this statement Thursday afternoon, regarding the fire at Intercontinental Export-Import, Inc. in south Parkersburg, which has been burning since Friday, Oct. 20:

"It is recommended to avoid contact with the smoke and remain indoors if possible, with windows and doors closed until the smell is no longer detectable.

If the smell is in your area, avoid running air conditioners and heaters that may pull air in from the outside if possible.

Office of Environmental Health Services states that the Wood County drinking water will not be affected by this incident. Local water systems are from underground wells that also go through a treatment process with filters. Private wells that have been properly installed and maintained should not be affected.

Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission is testing the water at the site and in several areas of the river for run off contamination.

It is advisable to change out filters in air conditioners and heaters before running and then periodically until the smoke is no longer in the area.

If you are experiencing shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, or unusual coughing you should seek medical attention promptly."


UPDATE: 10/26/2017, 12:47 P.M.

Yellow Taxi of Parkersburg says its taxi and ambulette medical transport services are still in full operation after one of the company's buildings was heavily damaged in the fire at the adjacent Intercontinental Export-Import, Inc. building in south Parkersburg, which caught fire on Friday, Oct. 20, and is still burning as of Thursday.


UPDATE: 10/26/2017, 11:16 A.M.

All Wood County Schools will be in a "Code C" closure on Friday, Oct. 27, according to the Wood County School District.

A toxicologist from the Center for Toxicology and Environmental Health, Dr. Paul Nony, who was hired by Wood County to test air quality following the fire at the Intercontinental Export-Import, Inc. plastics recycling facility in South Parkersburg, told Wood County Commissioners Thursday morning that testing is being done in Wood County Schools facilities today.

Additionally, the Parkersburg High School vs. Riverside football game is still scheduled to begin at 7:30 P.M. on Friday, October 27th, at Stadium Field in Parkersburg.


UPDATE: 10/25/2017, 2:43 P.M.

All Wood County Schools will be in a "Code C" closure on Thursday, Oct. 26, for students and most staff, according to Assistant Superintendent Mike Fling.


UPDATE: 10/25/2017, 1:10 P.M.

Environmental experts continue to monitor residents' comments about the area's air quality, in the wake of this week's fire at the Intercontinental Export-Import, Inc. plastics recycling facility in South Parkersburg.

But officials of the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection and a contractor hired to provide assistance with air monitoring of the area said at a Wednesday news conference particulate matter in the air-the solid matter resulting from the fire-has declined in tests taken since Monday.

"We have been looking not only at the particulate matter that's in the smoke," said Dr. Paul Nony, a toxicologist with The Center for Toxicology and Environmental Health, "but also at the gases and chemicals that come out of any type of fire."

The experts added, however, problems with the smoke from that fire remain.

And while monitoring of water, in particular the Ohio River, is continuing, it's believed the problems from the fire are in the air.

Wednesday's briefing was the first to deal primarily with the air quality issue. However, local officials say the fire is still burning, and there's no timetable as to when it will be fully extinguished.

At the same time, the fire and its issues are considered a "short-term event", although it is still stressed that people with respiratory problems limit their exposure to the fire's smoke.


UPDATE: 10/24/2017

Wood County officials have scheduled a press conference to discuss this testing and provide any additional updates 11 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 25, at the Judge Donald Black Annex on 317 Market Street in Parkersburg.

Attached to this article is the most recent information through Wood County Emergency Management about the air quality related to the fire at the Intercontinental Export-Import, Inc. plastics recycling facility in South Parkersburg.


UPDATE: 10/24/2017

West Virginia officials have just released the results of air sampling performed after a fire broke out Saturday morning at the Intercontinental Export-Import, Inc. plastics recycling facility in Parkersburg.

The sampling was conducted by the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection’s Homeland Security and Emergency Response team using handheld air monitors. The monitors tested for the presence of methane, oxygen, hydrogen sulfide, carbon monoxide, chlorine and ammonia.

In addition, data collected by the federal Environmental Protection Agency is also included in the data posted online.

Officials add that additional air-quality monitoring by the WVDEP and the EPA is ongoing.

We’re going through the numbers now and will have have a complete report online and on our newscast later tonight.

The links to data of air quality tests performed in the Mid-Ohio Valley by the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection Division and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency can be found in the "Related Links" section of this story.


10/24/2017 5:25 P.M.

U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin issued this statement about possible federal response to the major fire in Wood County:

“Today I spoke with Administrator Pruitt to make him aware of the latest on the situation in Wood County and ask that he ensure the EPA is providing any equipment and technical assistance necessary to resolve the air and water issues that may arise as a result of the fire. I also spoke with Mayor Joyce and Commissioner Colombo asking them to keep me abreast of their specific needs so that I can ensure they are being met at the federal level. I will continue to do everything possible to ensure our state and local officials are fully supported by federal agencies, and I thank the many local emergency responders who have been working tirelessly to stop the fire and protect the public,” Senator Manchin said.


10/24/2017 3:00 P.M.

West Virginia Governor Jim Justice spent more than an hour taking questions not only from the news media, but from the general public, about the ongoing response to the IEI Plastics warehouse, formerly the Ames plant, burning since October 21.

The governor pledged every resource available, or in his words, "All The King's Horses and All The King's Men" will be called on not only to extinguish the fire, but to address other public issues from the massive fire.

Noting the state Division of Environmental Protection has already done testing of air quality, the governor indicated more needs to be done, even if it means calling in other agencies to help.

But local officials also taking questions said the investigation into a cause of the fire won't fully begin until the fire is out. It was added, however, the West Virginia Fire Marshal's office has been conducting interviews to begin that investigation.

Several local residents attended the news conference at the Donald F. Black Annex in downtown Parkersburg, a couple repeatedly asking questions about air quality in the area.

A representative of the state DEP responded to most of them, stating there is ongoing monitoring of the site.



 
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