Crews have begun stabilizing and cleaning up the site of a Spokane Valley paint store that was destroyed by fire Sunday evening.
Rodda Paint, a Portland-based chain, has hired a contractor to contain liquids, including paint and other contaminants, at the site of the fire at 6818 E. Sprague Ave.
“A lot of paint has been compromised,” said Sandy Howard, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Ecology, which is monitoring the situation.
Howard said the contractor, Belfor, has found at least five dry wells on the site, which hold water so it can seep gradually into the ground. She said snow coverage has made it difficult to find all the dry wells.
Several wells were found to contain volatile organic compounds. Howard said crews planned to bring in a vacuum truck on Tuesday to begin removing contaminated water and snow.
She said there is no indication that pollutants from the store or fire have reached the water table, which sits about 90 feet underground.
“We’re quite confident that nothing has escaped into the groundwater,” she said.
Crews also placed a containment berm around the property to stop liquids from spreading, Howard said.
“The cleanup here will be going on for a while,” Howard said.
Brad Gisolo, a district manager for Rodda Paint, said in an email the company is “diligently working with the appropriate authorities to address environmental hazards. We will continue to do so and reassess the situation as needed to ensure proper protocol is taken.”
Firefighters rushed to the scene Sunday evening after witnesses reported heavy smoke coming from the southwest corner of the building.
The blaze took several hours to extinguish, and the burning paint produced plumes of toxic smoke. One firefighter was treated at a hospital and released Sunday night.
The store was closed on Sunday, and no one is believed to have been inside at the time of the fire. The cause of the blaze has not been determined, but fire department officials have said they don’t suspect foul play.
On Monday, Spokane Valley Fire Marshall Greg Rogers told KXLY the department borrowed a camera-equipped drone to capture images of the building’s roof, which was severely weakened by the fire.
“The walls are kind of bowing out a little bit,” Rogers told KXLY. “So we’re a little bit worried that once we start to receive snow either tonight or tomorrow, we’re afraid the roof is going to collapse.”
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