New York state officials have lifted an air advisory near the site of an industrial fire in West Ghent, New York, saying the fire is nearly out and air tests are coming in clean. New York officials say tests of soot from the fire show no PCB contamination, and Massachusetts officials have modified their advisory for downwind Berkshire County towns. They now say residents may go outdoors, open windows, and utilize air conditioners and fans. Further analysis and testing will continue through the night, but they have several cautions:
• Limit outdoor activity, avoiding contact with flat surfaces (bleachers, picnic tables, deck furniture, playground equipment, etc.) where contaminants could have landed and still be present.
• It is not recommended that children or pets play in fields where contaminants could be on the grass or dirt surfaces.
• Agricultural restrictions will remain in place, with farm animals sheltered in barns and stables and placed on stored feed and water.
• Crops, even home gardens, should not be picked or consumed until further testing is finished.
For more information, you can go to the Massachusetts emergency management agency’s web site.
The fire at TCI of New York broke out Wednesday night in a small industrial park 15 miles west of West Stockbridge, Massachusetts, triggering explosions and a fireball rising hundreds of feet into the air, according to witnesses. Clouds of black smoke continued rising Thursday as firefighters sprayed foam over the fire, which was being fueled by sodium, diesel, propane and mineral oil. The blaze was finally extinguished This [Thursday] afternoon. A large amount of soot from the fire spread over nearby vehicles and homes. Safety officials were concerned about the presence of PCBs, a probable human carcinogen once used in some electrical equipment, at the site. Initial air tests in New York for the substance came back negative.