A warehouse is burning in West Virginia


It’s been burning for almost a week. It’s owned by a “waste management company”, IEI, with a concept of “management” that involves stashing tons of old chemical waste in poorly maintained buildings with almost no documentation for Dupont. It’s basically producing a vast cloud of toxic fumes wafting over the state, and West Virginia is praying that the EPA will save them. Right. Scott Pruitt’s EPA. Although it can’t really be blamed on Pruitt, this is a situation that has been allowed to fester for decades — but you also can’t expect an incompetent know-nothing who favors the kind of laissez-faire corporate management practices that led to this situation to actually do anything about it.

There’s a terrifying collection of photos of the fire.

The warehouse used to be the Ames Factory (I think they made shovels there), but for years has been a dump for things that Dupont can’t legally get rid of. The state doesn’t know what was in there, but there is possibilities of any number of these products being stored there – PVC, Nylon, Carbon black, Titanium dioxide, Fiberglass, Maleic Anhydride TLV 0.1 ppm, Formaldehyde, PTFE (Teflon), Styrene, Acrylonitrile, Polybutylene Terephthalate, and/or Acrylic Sheet all of which are not good things when burned.

Edit: Update from Reddit “There is also an underground storage tank from when it was ames that is full of trichloroethyene, lead, ethylbenzene, and toluene that is leaking. The fire suppression system for the warehouse failed last winter because one of the pipes froze and busted. They never had it fixed.”

Edit 2: Another update from an insider that used to work for Dupont. IEI, who owns the building is a shell company owned by Dupont. Also, from a different insider “Saurabh Naik (Ed Note: The official owner of IEI) has dozens of LLC Shell companies like IEI that he funnels stuff through. He makes everyone that works from him sign an NDA. You’d be Shocked at some of the stuff that gets stored in his warehouses. You get everything from polymers to toxic Dust to drums of acid all thrown into the same sections of buildings. I’ve personally seen warehouses wall-to-wall with this stuff with literally no room to walk around in. If a Fire breaks out in one of his buildings then there is no way to put it out short of letting the entire thing Burn to the ground. Apparently this old AMES building was one of his worst and he’s already received many citations and Warnings about how things are stored and the general maintenance of the facility. Expect shutdowns of satellite warehouses soon and probably a couple bankruptcies declared as Well.”

Once again, West Virginia has gotten the short end of the stick when it comes to our water, air, and land. And because of this, our citizens are suffering and our fire fighters are risking their lives to help fight the fire.

Comments

  1. The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge says

    You just don’t get it, do you? None of these things would be harmful–nothing would be harmful–if it weren’t for liberals saying they are. Liberals ruin everything!

  2. says

    Remember that huge warehouse explosion in China? It’s worth looking for videos of that on youtube. It was somewhat less energy than a small nuke, but it was louder. Unregulated, chemicals tend to regulate themselves! Don’t let capitalists decide how stuff is going to be stored because “cheap” is not always the best answer.

    Tianjin:
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=fCX79AboDBc

  3. davidnangle says

    Some fires can be smothered by dumping other useless, sometimes dangerous, leftovers from failed production runs. Like the management and stockholders of DuPont and IEI. Just dump ’em on there and see if we can’t smother that problem.

  4. rietpluim says

    This is serious. People will be suffering the consequences for years.

    But never the people who are responsible.

  5. The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge says

    @2:

    Do I really need a <sarc> tag?

    I forgot the corollary: anything liberals say is good–like vaccinations, clean air, and clean water–are objectively evil and cause every problem you’re faced with….

  6. davidnangle says

    rietpluim, worse yet: The people affected will keep voting for the people responsible. (Essentially.)

  7. doubtthat says

    Sure, post that picture, but not the one where it shows the regulations starting the fire. Probably an Obama law that forced an illegal immigrant to start it. And the poor CEO was trying to handle things properly, but Big Government wouldn’t let him. MAGA!

  8. says

    Wait. -A dump for things they can’t legally get rid of. -Packed so tight the only way to put out a fire is to let it all burn to the ground.
    This sounds intentional. Dump all the stuff we can’t dispose of and then wait for the building to burn down! I wonder what their insurance on the building is.

  9. whywhywhy says

    Someone is going to prison right? Please tell me there will be more penalties for this type of malfeasance than a few shell companies doing what they were designed to do: go bankrupt to protect the core company.

  10. The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge says

    @11:

    Nope, the good citizens of West Virginia will crawl over broken glass, coughing their lungs out from the smoke, to vote against anybody who wants to regulate or penalize this “industry”: “THEIR TAKIN’ ARE JERBS!!!”

  11. Larry says

    Nobody could have ever predicted such a thing could happen. If the EPA hadn’t insisted that we not dump all these chemicals and toxins into the rivers, we wouldn’t have had to store them in this facility. Thanks, Obama! Besides, both sides do it.

  12. doubtthat says

    Not only will there not be any consequences, I would be willing to bet tax payers fund any clean up either through direct allocation of disaster funds or via the company writing off costs on their taxes.

  13. johnson catman says

    doubtthat @14:
    Both, I suspect. And as whywhywhy suggested @11, bankruptcy and those in charge walk away with lots of money in their pockets and no penalties.

  14. thirdmill says

    Sorry, zero sympathy for West Virginia; they are getting what they voted for. Elections have consequences.

  15. mykroft says

    In Texas, people are not allowed to know what chemicals are stored at chemical plants, based on the premise that if the information is public terrorists would know where to steal hazardous chemicals or which buildings to set on fire. It now looks like the EPA is trying to move the country in that direction, because they are delaying implementation of an Obama era rule mandating public disclosure.

  16. davidnangle says

    mykroft, we aren’t being terrified enough for our security blanket. Did I say security blanket? I meant security.

    Not only shouldn’t the public know what chemicals are in those plants, the plant owners, management, and workers shouldn’t know, either. In fact, the plants themselves shouldn’t exist. It’s the only way to stop us sucking our thumbs as we shit our pants over distant brown people!

  17. microraptor says

    mycroft @17: And by “terrorists,” they mean “people who own and operate these plants without proper safety measures in place,” right? Right?

  18. weylguy says

    Yet another moral outrage, thanks to the Republican Party. Every day keeps getting worse and worse under this administration, while the American people do nothing but take it up the rear end. It’s no wonder there’s an opioid crisis in this fucking country.

  19. says

    Think of this as a great way to combat global warming. The partculates provide wonderful nucleation points for water condensation which in turn creates little “mirrors” that reflect sunlight in the atmosphere.
    /s

  20. unclefrogy says

    we are only a partially intelligent animal that is clear by the evidence.
    we are the champions of making a big impact on earth right up there with blue green algae (Cyanobacteria) and maybe we are the perfect counterreaction to it.
    What “they” will claim is that it was an accident no one is directly at fault. All the dig disasters are just accidents some low level underlings made what turned out to be decisions with very bad consequences. It is a pity and a shame morn the dead and pray to god. It is what we always hear.
    No one except maybe some insurance actuaries ever do the numbers, if the chance is even a small one say 1 in 500 or smaller even and there are how many sites factories, ware houses, storage yards, junk yards, this is a big place thousands I would expect, them some of them will blow and do most do not make the national news though from time to time like this one they do.
    I grew up in southern California this is what has happened locally since I have been aware from the 50’s, We even had a steel scrap yard catch fire once think it burned for a week.
    uncle frogy

  21. NitricAcid says

    Fibreglass and titanium dioxide aren’t going to do much in a fire. The chlorinated stuff, on the other hand, is going to give some nasty stuff if it gets hot enough.

  22. says

    This sort if thing I increasingly think of as a social contract violation. The sort of thing a community gets riot over and otherwise force the issue in terms of the people who chose to do this. Mercury in public water supply should not be a thing. A generation with measurable developmental effects. That’s a second example out if many. Social contracts get reevaluated. It’s inevatable.

  23. kevskos says

    #24, not so sure titanium dioxide will be benign in a giant mixed fire like this. No biological danger perhaps but it could be helping to make the fire worse. From the Wikipedia page on Health and Safety,

    “Titanium dioxide is incompatible with strong reducing agents and strong acids. Violent or incandescent reactions occur with molten metals that are very electropositive, e.g. aluminium, calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, zinc and lithium”

  24. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Fibreglass and titanium dioxide aren’t going to do much in a fire. The chlorinated stuff, on the other hand, is going to give some nasty stuff if it gets hot enough.

    Where I worked we sent our flammable waste to a cement producer (as a fuel additive). There was limit on the chloride content they would accept. So we had to keep track of our usage, and test prior to removing the filled liquid waste tanks.
    Makes me happy I worked for an ethical company for 25+ years.

  25. Dave, ex-Kwisatz Haderach says

    “Though a Dupont spokesperson said that the cloud was harmless”
    Just…wow. That spokesperson is the next White House Press Secretary.

  26. anbheal says

    @4 and @16 — exactly. Three quarters of you and your neighbors chose this, and have been choosing it for 25 years, because it’s easier to just hate blacks and immigrants and women who have sex with people besides preachers, than it is to improve your own lot in life. Evidently hatred trumps your economic futures and those of your children. And you will expect Democrats and Jews and Latinos and gays and educated people from New York and California and Massachusetts and Maryland to pay for your mess, because they get educations and jobs and have enough income to pay taxes, while you pull the lever in the voting booth for the guy who yells NO TAXES AND NO N*GGERS louder than the next guy.

    Enjoy your cancer, assholes.

  27. anbheal says

    @4 and @16 — exactly. Three quarters of you and your neighbors chose this, and have been choosing it for 25 years, because it’s easier to just hate blacks and immigrants and women who have sex with people besides preachers, than it is to improve your own lot in life. Evidently hatred trumps your economic futures and those of your children. And you will expect Democrats and Jews and Latinos and gays and educated people from New York and California and Massachusetts and Maryland to pay for your mess, because they get educations and jobs and have enough income to pay taxes, while you pull the lever in the voting booth for the guy who yells NO TAXES AND NO N*GGERS louder than the next guy.

    Enjoy your cancer, assholes.

  28. chigau (違う) says

    anbheal #30 & #31
    What about the other quarter?
    and the ones who were disenfranchised?
    Bless your heart.
    Bless your heart.

  29. thirdmill says

    Caine, No. 29, I have a sister with multiple disabilities on SSI who votes Republican because she’s a racist who hates immigrants; then she calls me and cries because her benefits are being cut and she doesn’t know how she’s going to survive. I have a brother who has voted Republican all his life because he’s a Christian who hates abortion and gays, and who now has cancer and doesn’t have health care because he lost his job earlier this year and doesn’t have the money for a plan that will do him any good.

    I’m sorry, but I’m at the point where if people are so stupid that they’re willing to vote Republican, against their own best interests, they can just live with the results. People who don’t vote Republican have to live with the results, so why shouldn’t they? And if they don’t like the results, maybe next time they will do a better job of voting their own best interests. It’s called choices have consequences, and last time I checked it was still a law.

  30. thirdmill says

    Chigau, No. 32, I have sympathy for those that didn’t vote Republican and I happen to be one of them. Nevertheless, unless you’re adopting the libertarian view that individuals get to ignore society, part of living in society is that you are stuck with what society decides to do and whom it chooses to elect. I wish it were different. I also wish I were young, good looking and rich, but reality is reality.

  31. davidc1 says

    I caught a bit of a programme on Al Jazeera about Apple’s factories in China ,not only are labour costs only 1% of the price
    of a product ,they don’t have any of those pesky laws that the EPA are supposed to enforce in the US .
    Looks like America is going to catch up with China in something.

  32. thirdmill says

    Giliell, and Brony, good and moral have nothing to do with it. As a matter of cold, hard reality, children do suffer for the sins of their parents. If the parents have substance abuse problems, or nutty religious views, or are anti-vaccination, or any number of other harmful things, the children are going to suffer for it. You think the innocent children of Nazis didn’t suffer when Germany was defeated in World War II and people there were starving?

    Sometimes society can fix it, sometimes it can’t. I don’t like it any better than you do. But in the meantime, the point stands that West Virginia is getting what it voted for.

  33. says

    @thirdmill
    I did not use the words good or moral, but it fits. This is about ought to me, not is. This is about what is done next and just because things were bad over there does not mean they have to be bad over here.

    You can walk by the tragedy if you wish, but some people will remember that you went to “too bad so sad” when it comes to developmental toxins and business and political externalities (I’m happy to call this an externality of conservative psychology, selfish and similar is there for good reason but the damaging expressions need to be dealt with all the same). To me this is assaul at the very least, current social conditions do not change that.

  34. Gorogh, Lounging Peacromancer says

    This seems pertinent… in case anybody isn’t angry enough yet. How anybody believes that market forces/consumer choice are sufficient to regulate anything is beyond me.

    “This year’s Halloween confectionery will contain palm oil grown on land that should lawfully be habitat to orangutans, rhinos and clouded leopards, despite commitment to clean up supply chains”

  35. thirdmill says

    Brony, part of the reason Republicans still win elections is that the left sees it as cold and inhumane for Republican voters to suffer the direct and immediate consequences of their choices. Maybe if the cost of voting Republican were that people actually lost their health care, their social security, their medicare, and all the other government programs they depend on, with a huge recession and 20% unemployment to boot, fewer people would do it. But so long as the left is willing to clean up the messes the right makes, all so the voters who caused the mess in the first place suffer no real consequences, there’s no real reason for Republican voters to stop voting Republican. And it’s not “too bad, so sad” so much as you asked for it, you got it.

    The left has tried the strategy of cleaning up messes Republicans leave. It hasn’t worked; people are still voting Republican. My concern is how, long term, to end people’s willingness to vote Republicans. If you have a better strategy, let’s hear it.

  36. says

    @thirdmill
    There is no single strategy, I myself play to my strengths with respect to direct confrontations in public spaces as much as I can tolerate, but any attempt to clean up an environmental mess will end up helping voters who enabled it as well as effected voters who did not as well as the children of enablers. I’m fine rubbing it in if anyone wants to, it is a way to press the point, but there is no moral way to prevent cleanup from benefitting enablers.

    We have to deal with the reality of this sort of mess too, abdication of responsability here is social spite.

    But that is also not precisely what I was getting at. Voter or no, enabler or no, if someone harms children through callous negligence I support them in taking matters into their own hands if there is no public response that deals with the problem and makes potential consequences too expensive (I like the idea of the death penalty here, these people have plenty of resources to ensure a fair trial).

    What is your purpose here? What do you want? Would you stand in their way? “Nope, sorry. You made bad voting decisions no environmental cleanup and social consequences for the people that hurt your kids.” Just what are you trying to do?

  37. says

    Thirdmill
    There’s a difference between acknowledging that parental behaviour has an affect on the offspring and being ok with it because the parents are arseholes.
    Pollution doesn’t care about who you voted for or your daddy or if you could vote at all.

  38. thirdmill says

    Brony, I would not stand in the way and forcibly prevent someone from cleaning up the mess. At the same time, sometimes the way that you get people to stop doing stupid things — in this case voting Republican — is by not shielding them from the consequences of their own stupid behavior.

    And the other thing to factor in is that *somebody* is going to be paying dearly for the election of Donald Trump, and the only question is who. As much as possible, I’d like it to be the people and states that elected him. Partly as a matter of fairness, and partly in the hope of deterrence. It’s not a perfect overlap; some California voters who voted for Trump will escape relatively unscathed and some West Virginia voters who didn’t vote for Trump will suffer for it nonetheless. But, one of the consequences of living in society is that individuals frequently find themselves stuck with bad choices that they didn’t personally make.

  39. says

    @thirdmill
    Their one chance at existance and you don’t really seem affected by the fact that we let society chemically manipulate the development of of children through neglect and design. I wad shocked by the number of atheists willing to sacrifice others for personal politics.

    You have activated “everyone for themselves” with respect to another group of people. You say it’s about the parents, but the very fact that you are willing to consider the children expendable means you have stuck that impulse more deeply.

    Why should I trust you? I’m dispensable. You should think about the fact that your politics is inherently antisocial. That instinct to care for children is more important than you realize.

  40. indianajones says

    ‘suffer the direct and immediate consequences of their choices’

    because

    ‘one of the consequences of living in society is that individuals frequently find themselves stuck with bad choices that they didn’t personally make’.

    Ok, but what if the punishment of those consequences massively outweighs the crime (better word here?) of making whatever choice in the first place? And that leaves aside systemic and massive disenfranchisement of swathes of people who have had their choice taken away. My vision of a healthy, prosperous and so on society (Surely we can agree on that as a worthy goal?) does not involve dis-proportionate punishment of poor choices. And not supporting reacting to this crisis in as effective a way as possible because (paraphrasing) ‘Republican voters deserve it’ would seem to me to be hugely dis-proportionate.

    What is happening to your family members is awful.

  41. says

    “…wad shocked…” should be “was shocked”. I’m not anymore. I assume that we are as bad as the religious. They have social codes for a reason. Religion is just an expression of social instinct and biology, we need to make rules. I hope they don’t have to be as harsh as executing people who cause environmental disasters through negligence and design, but I could live with it.

  42. says

    indianajones

    Ok, but what if the punishment of those consequences massively outweighs the crime

    This. Also something about “cruel and unusual punishment”.
    We’d (hopefully) be outraged if a judge sentenced someone to “being exposed to toxic fumes that cause cancer”.

  43. says

    thirdmill @46:

    sometimes the way that you get people to stop doing stupid things — in this case voting Republican — is by not shielding them from the consequences of their own stupid behavior.

    That never works with conservatives. 1) those in the party of Personal Responsibility!!11!!! can never, ever take responsibility for their own bad choices; someone else is always to blame. 2) (Paraphrasing digby) Conservative ideology can never fail, it can only be failed by weak-minded souls who refuse to properly follow its tenets. Thus in the face of what appears to reality-based thinkers a foreseeable tragedy with direct and obvious roots in conservative ideology, instead the “logic” goes: we obviously need more (and more extreme) conservative policies like deregulation, lower taxes on the wealthy, militarized police, for-profit prisons, etc. If only these evil liberals would get out of our way, we’d all* be flourishing in paradise!
    * “all” = white men.

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