Air and water tested after Grand Prairie warehouse fire

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by CRAIG CIVALE

WFAA

Posted on February 8, 2011 at 7:19 PM

Updated Tuesday, Feb 8 at 7:35 PM

Warehouse fire

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GRAND PRAIRIE — There was great concern over air and water quality after a four-alarm fire destroyed a 400,000-square foot warehouse in Grand Prairie early Tuesday morning.

The flames required 66 firefighters, 12 trucks and multiple fire departments to put the fire out.

Plumes of smoke and blowing ash made residents worry that air and water sources could be contaminated.

The fire started in the 1000 block of Post North Paddock Street, but ash was found several miles away in Euless.

"It could be an irritant," said Rod Norwood who was testing the air quality. "At this point, we don't see any evidence of compound that would be toxic or poisonous."

Environmental experts tested the air quality at different locations around the warehouse. They said the fumes are not dangerous. Experts said the emissions are less toxic than the smoke from a cigarette.

Crews also tested the water upstream in the West Fork of the Trinity River to monitor the impact the smoke had on wildlife.

"The Trinity is, in fact, doing a great job diluting the contaminates in the water," said Cindy Mendez of  Grand Prairie Environmental Services. "The pH has remained pretty much the same. We see a lot of dissolved oxygen, which is good news for the fish."

The ash and soot that land in yards, on homes and cars was enough to alarm residents who lived miles away from the fire.

"It looks like pieces of a roof maybe," said Tonya Makar of Euless. "Some of it's thicker and looks like really thick ash."

Crews are still monitoring the air and water to make sure there are no harmful chemicals left behind.

The burning building housed NFI Industries and Pitney Bowes Service Center. The companies stored everything form machines to paper and aluminum cans.

Crews were busy demolishing the building and removing the debris on Tuesday afternoon.  Investigators have not determined a cause.

Email: ccivale@wfaa.com

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