EPA begins $3M cleanup at site of California magnesium fire

AP News
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Posted: Oct 18, 2016 10:56 AM

MAYWOOD, Calif. (AP) — The Environmental Protection Agency has begun a weekslong cleanup at the site of an explosive industrial fire that forced about 300 people from their homes in Los Angeles County last spring.

The EPA warned residents of Maywood on Monday that clearing out hazardous debris may send noxious odors into nearby neighborhoods.

The June fire south of downtown Los Angeles destroyed two commercial buildings, including a metal-recycling plant containing 10,000 pounds of magnesium shavings.

The magnesium erupted in fireball-like explosions when firefighters poured water on the flames. Crews had to use a dry chemical extinguishing agent.

More than 40 homes had to be cleaned before residents returned.

The EPA says crews are installing a "debris barrier" to block dust from reaching nearby homes during the cleanup, which could cost as much as $3 million.