Rumor Mill: Misinformation will not help with fire’s effects

For more than four days, the men and women of as many as 31 fire departments from two states have worked themselves to the point of exhaustion fighting the blaze at the IEI Plastics facility in the former Ames plant in south Parkersburg. Those folks cannot receive enough gratitude and support from the rest of us.

Meanwhile, the number of questions swirling in the minds of everyone living in the Mid-Ohio Valley will be difficult to answer; but rest assured, those of us working in the newsroom are finding those answers for you as quickly as we can. Please, ladies and gentlemen, do not give in to the temptation to spread the drama-filled, unsourced rumors making their way across social media. Passing along conspiracy theories and misinformation will do more harm than good.

There will be questions about who — if anyone — should be held accountable; there will be questions about funding and resources; and there will be questions about the environmental impact, and the health and safety of residents. We will be asking those and many more questions, keeping you informed.

For now, however, some of the answers are simply unavailable.

As one emergency management official put it, he and his office are not trying to hide information. They want the public to be informed and safe, and will announce what they know as soon as they know it. But there is plenty, right now, that they do not know.

Please heed the advice to stay away from the area around the fire — not only out of concern for your health, but to stay out of the way of those still trying to stabilize the site. Pay attention to your own health; and keep an eye on neighbors and relatives who may begin to feel the effects of smoke (no matter what it contains) in the air.

As new, verified information becomes available, The Parkersburg News and Sentinel will keep you informed. You can count on it.