FAIL! Recycling plant fire pollutes Columbia SC metro area

by 1389 on July 14, 2012

in 1389 (blog admin), American South, eco-radicals, FAIL

You can’t make this stuff up. What an opportunity to snark at those eco-freaks who hassle us over every piece of plastic we use or discard!

Cayce fire may spark charges, big expenses

Thumbnail of Cayce recycling plant fire

Monday, Jul. 02, 2012

Charges may be brought in connection with the Cayce plastics fire that started Friday and was only put out Sunday, a city official said Sunday.

Although at this point, city fire officials don’t believe the fire was intentionally set, officials are exploring the possibility that fire-prevention regulations may have been violated, city public safety Lt. Jeff Simmons said.

Simmons declined to comment on what the charges would be or against whom they would be made, but he indicated any action would come soon.

Meanwhile, city officials are looking at unexpected expenses connected to the fire that are expected to poke a hole in the city of Cayce’s $9 million annual budget.

On Saturday, as the fire continued burning, city officials signed a contract estimated at $500,000 with Hepaco, a national environmental disaster emergency response company. Hepaco, headquartered in Charlotte, has the kind of heavy equipment and experience to fight a fire fueled by large supplies of oil or oil-based substances, officials said.

“We certainly weren’t planning on this,” Mayor Elise Partin said Sunday evening. “We are hoping the state will help us out because we don’t have it. This is not something you budget for.”

Partin said she believed the plastics recycling company — World Wide Recycling, also called Global Plastics Recycling — had no insurance. Company officials could not be reached Sunday night. The plant is at 2350 Foreman St.

The fire, which started Friday morning shortly before 9, was fueled by tons of shredded plastic the plant has on hand to recycle into plastic boards used for decks on houses, Simmons said.

Shredded plastic is made out of petroleum, “which burns very fast and very hot and produces a lot of thick, black smoke,” Simmons said.

As firefighters battled the blaze Friday and Saturday in 100-degree-plus heat, the roof of the large concrete building the burning plastic was in collapsed, Simmons said.

That meant a large, oil-based fire was raging under a collapsed roof with the building’s four exterior walls still standing, Simmons said. Firefighters found it almost impossible to get water into that “encapsulated” fire to put it out, he said.

Hepaco had the equipment — large cranelike backhoe-type machines — to collapse the walls and then start to effectively “stir” the roof, the walls and the burning plastic in a fiery cauldron into which firefighters could finally pour thousands of gallons of water to extinguish the fire, Simmons said.

It was only with Hepaco’s help that the fire, with its potentially toxic smoke and pollution, was put out Sunday around 10 a.m., Simmons said.

The fire was one of the two or three largest fires Cayce has had in the past 25 years, Simmons said. He had no estimate on the dollar amount of damage.

Another unexpected cost to Cayce may be the money the city has to pay to three other water providers that are now giving it water.

That’s because as firefighters fought the fire, pollutants from the blaze and the fire-retardant chemicals they used drained into a creek that goes into the Congaree River, just upstream from Cayce’s drinking water intake pipes.

To prevent contamination of Cayce’s drinking water and plant equipment, S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control officials ordered the city’s water plant closed.

Consequently, to keep water flowing to residents, Cayce officials began using water from West Columbia, Columbia and the Lexington County Joint Municipal Water and Sewer Commission.

Partin did not know Sunday evening how much money her city would have to pay the other water providers.

“When you are in an emergency situation like we were in, you just act, and you trust that the other entities will do what they want done to them when they have an emergency,” Partin said.

Neither did Partin know when state health officials will OK reopening Cayce’s water plant. “We’re waiting on DHEC,” she said.

To help Cayce’s fire department battle the blaze, firefighters came from some 30 departments across South Carolina Friday and Saturday. At times, there were easily more than 100 firefighters on the scene, Simmons said.
Story here. Photo gallery here.

WACH Fox: Recycling plant co-owners among three arrested in Cayce fire

Posted: 07.06.2012 at 3:21 PM

CAYCE, SC (WACH) – Three men have been arrested by the Cayce Department of Public Safety in connection with a fire at a recycling plant in Cayce last Friday.

Authorities say Charles Lynn Goode of Lexington, Doug Kow Syng Jen of West Columbia and Israel Saldana Rizo of Cayce have been arrested and charged with unlawful burning after a fire started on June 29 and burned through July 1 at World Wide Recycling on Foreman Street.

According to officials with the department, Rizo was the acting manager of World Wide Recycling and Jen and Goode are co-owners of the business. The men are accused of not following city ordinances or guildelines to properly burn materials in the City of Cayce.

Goode and Jen are awaiting a bond hearing at the Lexington County Detention Center.

Rizo was released on a personal recognizance bond.

The Cayce Department of Public Safety responded to the fire at World Wide Recycling on Foreman Street just after 9 a.m. Friday, June 29.

Lt. Jeff Simmons says the fire started near wood pallets outside of the warehouse then moved inside. No one was inured inside the building, but one firefighter was treated for heat exhaustion. No other injuries were reported.

The fire investigation is ongoing.

Photos here.

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