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Fire Burns West Virginia Warehouse; Governor Justice Declares State of Emergency

A warehouse fire that burned a 420,000 square foot warehouse in Parkersburg, West Virginia is affecting air quality in the area.

Governor Jim Justice declared a state of emergency in Wood County on October 30th, as the fire continued to smolder, despite flames being snuffed out two days prior. According to the press release issued by the governor, the poor air quality around the Ames plant was a contributing factor in his decision. The declaration, which will run for 30 days barring a termination or extension by the governor, allows essential emergency resources to continue in the effort to battle the fire.

The Ames plant, which closed in 2005, was in use as a recyclable plastics storage unit. Area residents were encouraged to remain indoors while smoke continued to blanket the area and public schools in the county were closed.

According to a statement from Lubeck Volunteer Fire Chief Mark Stewart to The Parkersburg News and Sentinel, 31 fire departments throughout the state and neighboring Ohio responded to the blaze. Six million gallons of city water and an additional three million gallons of river water were used to extinguish the fire.

So far, no injuries were reported, but a spokesman from the Camden Clark Hospital reported that some people sought treatment for breathing issues related to the fire.

Smoldering Fires Release Dangerous Toxins into the Air

There is also concern that as the fire continues to smolder, toxic materials from the plastics stored within the warehouse could lead to health issues.

Burning plastic is dangerous because it releases into the air toxins linked to cancer and respiratory disease. Certain types of plastic, when burned, release dioxin, which is considered the most potent synthetic carcinogen and evaluated as more than 10,000 more powerful than other carcinogens.

According to the World Health Organization, “Once dioxins have entered the environment or body, they are there to stay due to their uncanny ability to dissolve in fats and to their rock-solid chemical stability.”

This would not be the first time people working or living near the scene of a fire had their health affected from the aftermath. Often, the greatest concern related to a fire occurs in the days and weeks after the flames have been extinguished – which is the case with the Parkersburg fire.

If you or a loved one has been affected by the Ames warehouse fire or you have questions in the aftermath of a fire you believe affected your health, we can help. We’ve worked with people who have been injured in the immediate circumstances and the aftermath of catastrophic events.

For more information or to schedule a consultation, contact Heavens Law at 888.897.5377 to learn more.