Cleanup Now Begins Following Huge Fire Near Downtown Nacogdoches - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

12/01/04 - Nacogdoches

Cleanup Now Begins Following Huge Fire Near Downtown Nacogdoches

by Stuart Burson

As night fell, workers remained at the scene of Wednesday's massive fire, beginning the long process of cleaning up what's left behind. The fire burned a good portion of the Morgan Oil Company storage facility on Bremond Street, near downtown Nacogdoches.

City officials commend the fire department's efforts in fighting the fire, but they're also quick to point out that the effort goes beyond the fire department.

"Every employee that we have for the fire department was called out. It's unusual that you have one, but it's not just the fire department. You have police, you have public works, you have utilities," says Nacogdoches Emergency Management Coordinator Victoria LaFollett.

No one likes to fight these types of fires, but Wednesday's fire offered the chance to put the city's emergency response plan to the test.

"The plan was utilized not just this morning, but all day. We're still working through different aspects of it. A lot of what we're doing right now is the environmental side of it, and this is when public works and public utilities are involved," said LaFollett.

That's why federal representatives from the Environmental Protection Agency were out there on Wednesday, checking for any contamination.

"We are looking at the creek to look for sheen and to see if there was contamination. Sampling is occurring right now. I tasked some of our contractors to work with TECQ on developing a sampling plan and to do sampling, so that's being addressed right now," said Nancy Jones with the Environmental Protection Agency.

Fire department officials say they would keep people at the site as long as it takes to finish the job. One of the main reasons they stuck around was to make sure this fire didn't blaze up again overnight.

During Wednesday's fire, firefighters used 2.8 million gallons of water in just four hours. Besides water, they also used about 1,400 gallons of fire fighting foam costing around $24,000.

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