County EM to release, discuss air sampling results from separate testing

Smoke rises Tuesday from the smoldering remains of the IEI Plastics fire at a warehouse on Camden Avenue.

PARKERSBURG – A nationally recognized environmental science firm is finding steadily improving conditions since Wood County officials retained it to test air quality around the site of the warehouse fire in south Parkersburg, Wood County Emergency Management announced Tuesday night.

The Center for Toxicology and Environmental Health of Little Rock, Ariz., launched a testing regimen that features continuous air monitoring reinforced by frequent air sampling collections for laboratory analysis, Emergency Management said in a press release.

The IEI Plastics warehouse on Camden Avenue, the old Ames shovel plant, caught fire early Saturday morning and has been burning since. The facility stored plastics.

Aside from the visible soot particles, the initial results show little or detectable levels of other likely chemicals in the smoke effecting the community, the release said. The levels of those soot particles, meanwhile, represent a moderate air quality impact – comparable to a wildfire, the release said.

“These findings support the advisories from county officials, which remain in place for area residents, as appropriate and sufficient,” the release said.

The results also supplement the separate and ongoing testing by the West Virginia Department of Environment, the release said. The department reports that it is monitoring for various pollutants that when detected have been at levels comparable to or lower than what is typically seen in urban areas, the release said.

The testing by the Center for Toxicology and Environmental Health has focused on the same pollutants and additional contaminants, the release said. The center will continue to test and analyze samples until the fire is extinguished.

A press conference will be held at 11 a.m. today in the Black Annex to discuss the results and the testing, the release said.