DEP teams on site of Harrisburg fire, booms in place to contain oil

Written by Ben Allen, General Assignment Reporter | Jun 19, 2014 1:33 PM

Photo by Ben Allen/witf

(Harrisburg) -- A fire burning at a recycling facility in Harrisburg could be out within the next couple hours. Two lightning strikes sparked the blaze at the Consolidated Scrap Resources facility on Cameron Street, and the smell reached for miles around the area.

Both the state Department of Environmental Protection and Dauphin County's Hazardous Response Team are on site, monitoring air quality, but they haven't recorded dangerous levels.

The main concern is hydrogen cyanide, but Harrisburg Acting Fire Chief Brian Enterline says tests have shown about 1 part per million, below the CDC upper limit of 10 parts per million.

The D.E.P. says it's still waiting on test results from earlier today, with samples from this afternoon to be tested later as well.

Air samples from the Consolidated Scrap Resources property will also be tested tomorrow.

D.E.P. says it put up booms in the Paxton Creek to contain a very light oil sheen that's runoff from the site.

Both Enterline and the D.E.P. say children, those with sensitive respiratory conditions like asthma, and the elderly should stay inside and keep windows closed to avoid the smoke.

He says firefighters have been slowly chipping away at the blaze since the first call came in at 3:03 this morning.

"Understand that this is a pile of tangled steel and cars, and all kinds of things. There's bicycles and water heaters and things like that. As they're pulling things, grappling things out with the crane, it's putting more and training more air into the pile which giving it the oxygen it needs to burn."

Enterline says the fire is contained to a pile about a story tall, and firefighters are plucking scrap metal off of it to get closer to the source of the blaze.

"We're just using water at this point. We're putting between 800 and 1,000 gallons of water on the fire every minute. We don't want to put any foam on there, because then we get into an environmental issue so we're trying to minimize that environmental impact."

Published in Harrisburg, News

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