Wood County Commission delays giving final fire bill to state

Wood County Commission member Jimmy Colombo, left, and commission President Blair Couch, right, along with County Administrator Marty Seufer, front, talk during Monday’s commission meeting. The commission says it will reschedule a presentation to state officials concerning the final cost of the IEI Plastics warehouse fire. (Photo by Michael Erb)

PARKERSBURG — The Wood County Commission Monday delayed a plan to present a bill for the IEI Plastics warehouse fire to state officials due to scheduling issues and additional costs still being ascertained.

County Commission President Blair Couch said the West Virginia Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety (DMAPS) Secretary Jeff Sandy requested the Monday meeting be rescheduled. Couch said he was hesitant to release dollar amounts on the fire before presenting them to the state. Officials have not yet determined when they will meet.

The Intercontinental Export-Important Plastics Warehouse, located in the old Ames shovel factory in south Parkersburg and owned by the Naik family, caught fire Oct. 21 and burned for more than a week. The blaze sent up a plume of smoke that could be seen and smelled for miles, closing area schools and businesses due to air quality concerns.

About 36 agencies responded to the blaze, which took more than a week to douse and reignited once. Early estimates have the cost of the response to the fire at over $1.5 million.

Officials said while they have a ball-park estimate on the cost of the fire to county agencies, bills are still coming in and a final figure on air quality testing and possible followup testing is not yet available.

County Administrator Marty Seufer said there are 3-4 vendors who have not yet billed the county, but officials expect they will.

Couch said there likely will be additional costs from the Center for Toxicology and Environmental Health, or CTEH, the company which conducted air quality testing during and after the fire. The company has sent samples to other companies for testing and may be doing soil testing, Couch said, all of which would be billed at a later date.

“They’ve given us a ‘strong estimate,’ and I don’t like that language,” he said.

Seufer said he was told the additional cost could be about 10 percent of the original price.

Seufer said the county planned to send a certified copy of the final bill to the Naiks. County officials still expect the Naiks and their insurance carrier to reimburse the state.

Officials are still waiting on a Plan of Corrective Action from the Naiks, who had requested a week-long extension on filing the information.