Decontamination continues after a large fire broke out in Seymour on Wednesday. The Department of Energy and Protection (DEEP) confirmed the presence of asbestos in the area around the building.
A company that specializes in decontamination of first responder gear has been brought in. Gear is scrubbed, washed, and dried outside the Great Hill Hose Company. Around 60 Seymour firefighters responded to the large fire on Bank Street.
“At this point, we’re taking every precaution considering the age of the building. We want to protect our firefighters,” said Seymour Assistant Fire Chief Quinn Levey.
Levey said one trailer has the capacity to wash and dry 50 sets of gear in a 12-hour period. A second trailer will arrive Saturday morning, and mutual aid companies will also bring their gear to the Great Hill Hose Company Fire House.
Over at the site of the fire on Bank Street, a fence blocks the contaminated debris with a sign warning of asbestos.
“We’ve swept all the areas surrounding it, all the buildings surrounding it, the sidewalks, all the public areas, and have collected all the debris,” said Supervising Emergency Response Coordinator for DEEP Emergency Response Unit Ken LeClerc.
LeClerc said they’ve hired a licensed contractor that’s cleaning the site area. A building inspector gave the owner of the property until Monday afternoon to demolish the building. LeClerc said there’s no concern of exposure to the public now, or even when the fire took place.
“The workers on site that are in the hot zone are wearing personal [air sampling] pumps, and we’ve had no hits on that. And they’re working right in the immediate area,” said LeClerc.
DEEP took samples of the adjacent apartment building and until results come back that it’s free of asbestos, it’ll remain unoccupied.
For those who responded to the fire, the Seymour Fire Department said they’ve been in contact with state and local officials, including medical partners, and will have a debrief with their members.
DEEP said there was also a meeting Thursday morning with the local towns that had firefighters there.
“We have recommended they document every person that was on the scene, fire, police, EMS, in case there is a long-term exposure issue,” said LeClerc.
DEEP said that is normal practice for any of these large fires.
Regarding the decontamination of gear, the work is expected to be completed by the end of the weekend. Officials said the costs for all the cleanup will be the responsibility of the building owner and his insurance company.
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