Industrial fire at Tenn. Superfund site put out

AP News
Posted: Dec 20, 2013 5:45 PM
Industrial fire at Tenn. Superfund site put out

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A large industrial fire at a federal Superfund site in central Tennessee has been put out and an evacuation order that affected about 300 people has been lifted.

Kim Skelton in the Hickman County mayor's office says the blaze that started Wednesday morning was put out late Thursday. On Friday morning emergency officials determined it was safe for residents to go home.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is continuing to monitor air quality in the area.

State Fire Marshal's office spokeswoman Kate Abernathy said investigators there have not yet determined what caused the fire at a plastics recycling facility on a portion of the Superfund site, about 45 miles southwest of Nashville. She said the fire appears to be accidental, but investigators are still taking statements from the workers.

The Tennessee Occupational Safety and Health Administration also is investigating potential worker safety hazards.

Industrial Plastics Co. official Pat Nicks, reached by telephone, declined to comment on the situation.

Federal Superfund sites were created to clean up areas that contain hazardous toxic waste.

The EPA website said the former Wrigley Charcoal Plant, located northwest of Highway 100, was placed on the National Priorities List in 1989 because of contaminated debris, ground water and soil in the county of about 24,000. The Superfund area includes a 35-acre primary site and surrounding areas comprising about 300 acres.

According to the EPA website, the Superfund site was home to various industrial operations, including iron, charcoal and wood distillation product manufacturing, beginning in 1880. Contaminants of concern at the site include wood tar chemicals, metals and volatile organic compounds.

Environmental officials still have to determine how the fire has affected cleanup efforts.