PARKERSBURG, W.V.a. (WTAP) - UPDATE: 10/24/2017 2:40 PM
West Virginia Governor Jim Justice made an appearance at IEI Plastics at 11:15 a.m., before attending the press conference this morning. He addressed the press on the scene, saying the state has to step up to the plate. Justice explained that he has asked the federal government for assistance in both knowledge and funds. He said the state of West Virginia wants to lessen the damages to the water and air. He also expressed his concerns for the health of the people of Wood County.
After speaking to the press, Justice stood and watched the fire fighters at work before retreating back to his vehicle. He slowly drove passed the site and went on his way to the official press conference.
UPDATE: 10/24/2017 1:53 PM
A full replay of today's news conference about the fire at the former Ames plant can will begin at 2 p.m. on the PinPoint Weather Channel, channel 125 on Suddenlink cable and Channel 15.4 over-the-air.
UPDATE: 10/24/2017 12:15 P.M.
Please click on the livestream button to view today's news conference on the Ames Plant fire.
UPDATE: 10/24?2017 9:55 A.M.
The Ames plant fire news conference scheduled for 11:30 a.m. Tuesday is now tentatively scheduled for about 12:30 p.m.
Lawrence Messina, director of communications for the W.Va. Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety, says the change was made because of changes to Gov. Jim Justice's schedule.
Justice is planning to attend.
WTAP will air the news conference live, and it will be streamed on thenewscenter.tv and on our Facebook page.
UPDATE: 10/23/2017, 11:30 P.M.
Gov. Jim Justice will be in Wood County on Tuesday morning, October 24, 2017, to visit the site of a catastrophic warehouse fire that continues to burn in Parkersburg. He is scheduled to arrive at approximately 10:30 a.m.
The Governor will also be participating in a press conference at 11:30 a.m. at the Judge Donald F. Black Courthouse annex, 317 Market Street, Parkersburg. This 11:30 am press conference will be in lieu of the one slated originally for 9 a.m.
Earlier Monday, Gov. Justice declared a State of Emergency in Wood County and said the state is committed to making sure essential emergency services will continue without interruption.
We will livestream the news conference, starting at 11:30 A.M. on Tuesday, on-air on WTAP Television and online at TheNewsCenter.tv and the WTAP Television Facebook page.
UPDATE: 10/23/2017, 7:25 P.M.
We will livestream the next Ames Fire update news conference, starting at 9:00 A.M. on Tuesday, on-air on WTAP Television and online at TheNewsCenter.tv and the WTAP Television Facebook page.
UPDATE: 10/23/2017, 6:12 P.M.
Wood County Schools says all its schools will be closed on Tuesday.
Staff, teachers and students should NOT report to school on Tuesday.
UPDATE: 10/23/2017, 4:48 P.M.
West Virginia Governor Jim Justice has declared a State of Emergency for Wood County, following the Ames Tool Plant fire that continues to burn.
The State of Emergency declaration provides additional state money, people and equipment to help local firefighters extinguish the fire that began Friday night at the former Ames Tool Plant, at 3801 Camden Avenue, which is located just outside the city limits of Parkersburg.
UPDATE: 10/23/2017 2:50 P.M.
Firefighting crews have temporarily halted work at the Ames plant in south Parkersburg.
Lubeck Fire Chief Mark Stuart says firefighters stopped work this afternoon because of poor visibility in the air. However, crews on scene are continuing to monitor the fire.
Stuart says the decision to halt work was made because rain is keeping the thick, heavy smoke closer to the ground.
The fire at the plant on Camden Avenue has been burning since about 12:30 a.m. Saturday.
UPDATE: 10/23/2017 12:25 P.M.
Wood County offices and the county's schools were all closed Monday as a result of the ongoing concerns about the Ames fire's aftermath.
And late Monday morning, the Parkersburg Utility Board announced a boil-water advisory order for part of the Downtown Parkersburg area until further notice.
The advisory was issued because of a main line water leak on 3rd Street that caused the water pressure to be reduced to a very low level.
Samples are being collected and an update will be provided when results are known.
Earlier, the Wood County Commission had its regularly scheduled meeting, and the fire was the major topic of discussion.
That meeting was attended by first responders, city of Parkersburg and Wood County officials, and many others who have been working at the scene of this weekend's emergency.
And the one thing they wanted to emphasize was that people should stay out of the fire area and stay indoors, especially if they suffer from respiratory problems.
State officials said they hoped to get additional control over the fire sometime this afternoon. And they addressed county concerns about the costs involved in the continued response to the fire.
Jeff Sandy, secretary of the state Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety, said he has been in contact with governor Jim Justice about the situation.
"The governor stated there's no price tag you can put on a West Virginia citizen," Sandy said. "He committed himself that he is going to do whatever it takes to get this matter taken care of and resolved."
A family member of the property's owner, Sur Naik Holdings LLC., said they are in contact with their insurance company and that all efforts are being made to begin a cleanup of the site once the fire is put out.
However, responders emphasized bringing the fire under control is still a first priority.
While schools and other public buildings were closed Monday, officials say individuals should use their own judgment about going outside.
"We've been asked about closing businesses," Wood County 911 Director Rick Woodyard said after Monday morning's meeting, "and we told them to use their own judgment about doing so. We're reaching out to people to avoid this if you can."
It was also stated that, while environmental agencies stated Saturday that the ash from the fire is non-toxic, efforts to determine the air quality in the immediate and surrounding area are still an on-going process.
While not related to what's stored inside the plant, the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection has fined the plant's owners, Intercontinental Export, L.L.C., for violations in the past.
According to documents The News Center obtained from the DEP, the agency notified the owners in 2011 of violations, including failure to make regular discharge monitoring reports and failure to maintain groundwater and storm water protection plans.
More recently, the company was fined more than $80,000 for failing to file discharge monitoring reports, of which $60,000 remains unpaid, according to the DEP.
UPDATE: 10/23/2017, 11:40 A.M.
The Mid-Ohio Valley Transit Authority's "Easy Rider" buses will offer free rides to anyone with respiratory issues, or the elderly, who are affected by the Ames Plant fire to the Red Cross emergency shelter at South Parkersburg Baptist Church, or to any safe residence within the city limits of Parkersburg or Vienna.
For pickup or more information, call the MOVTA at 304-422-4100.
UPDATE: 10/22/2017 8:05 P.M.
A Wood County Citizens Alert reads:
Due to the anticipated change in weather conditions at the Industrial Fire located at 3801 Camden Avenue, the smoke cloud may be driven closer to the ground effecting homes in the immediate area. For those persons that may be effected or prefer to avoid these conditions the American Red Cross has established a voluntary shelter at the South Parkersburg Baptist Church located at 1655 Blizzard Drive Parkersburg.
UPDATE: 10/21/2017 8:13 P.M.
The Department of Environmental Protection advises the fallen ash from the Ames Plant fire is Non-toxic to residents.
Update: 10/21/2017 4:40 P.M.
An update from Wood County Citizen Alert:
At present officials are conducting air quality samples as well as lab testing of sample fallout materiel taken from the Parkersburg and surrounding areas.
Until these samples are examined the substances contained within the smoke cloud is undetermined. We would strongly suggest avoiding exposure to the smoke and its byproduct until the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection has conducted their testing.
We are also getting reports of particle fallout material in locations in Williamstown and Marietta. These particles can be harmful to the respiratory system. Once again we would strongly advise not to expose yourself to these particles.
Initial air monitoring testing completed in the immediate and surrounding area of the fire scene shows air to be within acceptable quality limits.
UPDATE 10/21/2017 4:00 P.M.
School officials have postponed the Williamstown @ Parkersburg Catholic scheduled for Saturday.
The game is postponed to the smoke from the fire at the former Ames plant.
The game will now be played at Stadium Field on Monday night at 7:00pm.
1UPDATE 10/21/2017 2:30 P.M.
Official Press Release from Wood County Unified Command
At approximately 12:30AM on Oct 21st fire departments from Lubeck, Deerwalk, Eastwood, Blennerhassett, Vienna, Williamstown, Pond Creek, Mineral Wells, Washington Bottom, as well as Parkersburg Fire were initially summoned to a structure fire located at 3801 Camden Ave, Parkersburg. The structure was formerly the Ames Tool Plant spanning some 420,000 square feet. The facility was currently being used to house various plastics and other articles.
As fire crews arrived on the scene the building was engulfed in flames. Through the night other area fire departments and manpower were requested to assist with the blaze. Fire crews from Marietta, Little Hocking Ohio along with crews from Ritchie and Jackson County, WV are now on scene.
Other agencies in support of this incident include the American Red Cross, WV Department of Highways, Parkersburg Police, Wood County Sheriff's Office, Camden Clark Ambulance, St Joseph Ambulance, Wood County Health Department, WV Department of Environmental Protection, Wood County Emergency Management, WV Emergency Management and E911.
Roadways surrounding the fire scene that have been closed include, Camden Ave and Broadway, Camden Ave and Olive Street, Camden Ave and Myrtle Streets along with connecting alley ways.
Departments are now drafting water from the Little Kanawha River to relieve the stress placed upon Parkersburg's water supply.
No reported injuries have occurred at this time however officials have placed a respiratory hazard warning stemming from the smoke caused by the fire.
It is strongly advised to not subject yourself to the smoke of this fire unnecessarily.
The Wood County Commission has declared the scene a disaster area.
The Lubeck Volunteer Fire Department is the lead agency in this incident.
Fire crews are expected to be on the scene for several days and the surrounding roads are likely to remain closed for the duration.
As the situation develops more information will be made available to the public.
A list of products that were potentially inside the Ames Plant at the time of the fire from Wood County Commissioners:
-Maleic Anhydride TLV 0.1 ppm
UPDATE: 10/21/2017 10:06 A.M.
From Wood County 911 -
"Public Advisory: Due to the fire located on Camden Ave. a large amount of smoke is blanketing the Parkersburg and surrounding areas. It is strongly advised to stay inside or avoid the smoke from this fire, especially those who have respiratory issues."
UPDATE: 10/21/2017 8:15 A.M.
From Wood County 911 -
"The Ames Plant located in the 3800 block of Camden Ave in Southside Parkersburg is currently on fire and has been for several hours. There are several fire departments currently on scene working this fire, and due to this we are receiving several 911 calls due to smoke. There is heavy smoke in all surrounding areas, before calling 911 please verify that a structure is on fire so the departments are not having to leave the scene of the Ames Plant for a false structure fire call."
One of a responder's worst nightmares: a massive fire engulfing a one-time major manufacturing plant, located in a residential area.
One of the first duties: making sure the blaze, and firefighters' efforts to battle it, does not affect nearby power lines.
"It's my understanding the power company has rerouted the feeds in this area," said Paul "Kim" Marshall, Deerwalk Fire Chief and information officer for the fire, "so that the lines adjacent to the fire are now offline."
Even at 3 A.M. Saturday, there were plenty of people wanting to watch-and record-what is likely to be a part of local history.
"We're working with the department of highways to block the roadway from Broadway to Myrtle (Street) and all the alleyways," said Rick Woodyard, 911 Director, Wood County. "It's also important to try to keep the sightseers to a minimum."
Just before dawn on Saturday morning,the thick black smoke from the fire left the area around the plant in total darkness. But even though the flames have died out somewhat, it was a sign of what these firefighters have had to deal with all night long.
One of the problems bringing the fire under control: the plant's size and location, on a narrow street. And it was a fire responders say could only be fought with water.
"We have also put a call into local oil and gas companies to bring in some large flow pumps to take to the river," said Deerwalk Chief Marshall, "because we're taxing the Parkersburg water system pretty strongly. This is not like a well or a tank or an oil rig. It's too massive, too many holes, sewer drains, there's no way to get a foam blanket to work."
UPDATE: 10/21/17 10:50 AM
Early Saturday morning, first responders were called out to the Ames plant in South Parkersburg which had caught on fire.
As firefighters from all over battled the flames, on the ground and up high, volunteers from the American Red Cross also came on scene.
Sharon Kesselring, Executive Director of American Red Cross, states “Our disaster action team captain got the call this morning to come and help to feed the firefighters that are working so hard. The first responders are incredible here.”
Red Cross volunteers gathered up food and drinks early this morning to give to firefighters to keep them energized throughout the day as they continue to fight a long battle with the fire.
Mike Barnes, a Red Cross volunteer, explained his job early this morning. “Had to get on the phone and wake a lot of people up. We got some recruits to come out and volunteer. We called some of our people like Hardees and they volunteered to donate some sandwiches for us and water.”
Even with places like Hardees and Walmart donating breakfast sandwiches, coffee, and water, the Red Cross is still stretch thin when it comes down to finding volunteers and materials.
Kesselring explains “We had to do a little finagling this morning because we don’t have our emergency response vehicle right now, because of the disaster response for the hurricanes. So we are working with our regular vehicles that we’ve got right now, that way it’s great because we can set up on both ends of the fire.”
Authorities say the fire will take a few days to burn out and while they are still attending to it today, Red Cross volunteers will be right by their sides providing food, energy, and encouragement to get the job done.
Barnes says “I enjoy meeting people and helping people. It’s just an enjoyable worthwhile experience.”
UPDATE: 10/21/2017 6 A.M.
A fire at the former Ames plant in south Parkerburg continues to burn, with flames and heavy smoke continuing to pour from the site as of 6 a.m.
Authorities say the fire at the plant on Camden Avenue broke out shortly before 1 a.m. in the west end of the plant, and the flames quickly engulfed the property.
Residents reported hearing several explosions shortly after the fire broke out.
Broadway Avenue at Camden Avenue is closed, along with multiple streets that lead onto Camden Avenue in the vicinity of the plant.
Authorities are asking people to avoid the area. They're also advising anyone with breathing problems to stay indoors if possible.
Firefighters from Parkersburg and every Wood County volunteer department were called to help fight the blaze.
The American Red Cross has also been called into to provide food, ice and other supplies for firefighters.
No injuries have been reported.
We have reporters at the scene, and we'll continue to update the story online and during our newscasts as new information becomes available.
ORIGINAL STORY: 10/21/2017
Firefighters are battling a large fire at the former Ames plant in south Parkersburg.
The blaze was reported to authorities shortly before 1 a.m. Saturday.
The fire involves multiple buildings at the site along old Camden Avenue.
Multiple fire departments and the Wood County mobile command team are at the scene.
Authorities have not said yet how the fire started.
We'll update this story as details become available.