It was five years ago tonight (August 1 2012) that the massive TCI fire broke out in Ghent. The fire lead to a state of emergency and had many residents worried they were breathing toxic air. We were all told to stay indoors and not use the air conditioner.
Videos from the scene:
The Columbia Paper, from the next day-August 2nd:
Transformer recycler blaze triggers State of Emergency
August 2, 2012 by DIANE VALDEN
WEST GHENT—A raging chemical fire at TCI of New York, a transformer recycling company at 39 Falls Industrial Park Road, has caused Columbia County Board of Supervisors Chairman Patrick Grattan to declare a State of Emergency today, August 2.
According to a press release from the Columbia County Emergency Management Office, people within a 15 mile radius of the fire are advised to remain indoors and cancel outdoor activities until further notice because of potential exposure to contaminants from the fire.
If possible, pets and livestock should also remain indoors. Air conditioners should be closed to outdoor air until further notice.
Columbia County Health Department officials advise that if anyone in the area experiences symptoms such as eye irritation, skin irritation, difficulty breathing, choking or coughing, to seek medical attention. People with respiratory conditions such as asthma or bronchial illness may be at greater risk of developing health effects.
Tests are being conducted to determine if the debris is hazardous and the results of the tests will be released as soon as possible. People who find soot in or on their houses or vehicles should not come into contact with it until further notice.
For up-to-date information regarding test results refer to Columbia County 911 and Emergency Management Facebook pages:http://www.facebook.com/columbiacountyemergencymanagementoffice or contact the Columbia County Health Department at 518 828-3358 X 1293.
A shelter has been established at the Chatham Firehouse, 3 Hoffman Street, Chatham.
Multiple fire companies, rescue squads and various county and state agencies are on the fire scene. Route 9H and roadways around TCI are closed to the public.
The fire broke out at 10:24 p.m. August 1. Thick heavy smoke from the roof was seen by firefighters when they arrived. A number of explosions were heard as the fire quickly engulfed the building. The burning chemicals inside the building forced firefighters to exit, according to newsman Lance Wheeler, who was on the scene.
West Ghent firefighters and the Greenport Rescue Squad were initially summoned. Mutual aid was called in from: Stockport FD, Ghent FD, Stottville FD, Stuyvesant Falls FD, Claverack FD, Stuyvesant FD, Greenport FD, Niverville FD, Livingston FD, Mellenville FD, Chatham FD, Kinderhook FD, Valatie FD, Churchtown FD, Philmont FD,Schodack Landing FD, Castleton FD, Clinton Heights FD, the Dutchess County DeCon Team and the Valatie Rescue Squad.
Other agencies on scene or involved were: Columbia County HatMat Team, Greene County HazMat Team, CC Fire Coordinators Office, CC EMS Coordinators Office, Columbia County Sheriff’s Office, New York State Police, Columbia County Health Department, Columbia County Emergency Management Office, NYS Enviromental Conservation Police, Department of Enviromental Conservation, Enviromental Protection Agency, New York State Electric & Gas, NYS Office of Fire Prevention & Control and the Red Cross.
Ancram Supervisor Art Bassin wrote in a townwide email that, “Plumes of possibly toxic smoke are headed east toward the Massachusetts border in the Egremont area and north toward Rensselaer County. At this point Ancram does not appear to be on the path of the possibly toxic smoke.”
The company experienced another fire earlier this year.