Shelter in place lifted 2nd time for chemical fire in Beaver County | TribLIVE.com
Regional

Shelter in place lifted 2nd time for chemical fire in Beaver County

Samson X Horne
1409345_web1_ptr-ShelterInPlace-2-071419
WPXI
1409345_web1_ptr-ShelterInPlace-071419
Courtesy of WPXI

Firefighters and a hazardous materials team remained at the scene of a fire and chemical release in Rochester Saturday afternoon, but officials said it was safe for residents of the immediate area to leave their homes.

Authorities issued two “shelter in place” orders advising residents to stay in their homes following the fire that broke out Friday night at the former Beaver Alkali Products facility in Rochester. The fire was reported at about 9 p.m. Friday.

Harold McClain, who lives in Monaca directly across the Ohio River from Rochester, said a plume of smoke engulfed the borough and river valley.

“This morning I could hardly breath,” he said. “I had a headache. My throat was hurting. It was bad.”

McLaine evacuated his family to their cottage at Pymatuming Lake. He said police closed the Rochester-Monaca Bridge over the Ohio Saturday after it became shrouded with smoke.

According to Tribune-Review news partner WPXI, people within a 1-mile radius of the old Beaver Alkali Products facility were advised to stay indoors after the fire rekindled in the morning, releasing another hazardous gas emission from the scene.

Earlier advisories included a 5-mile radius.

Those areas included Rochester, Monaca, Beaver Falls, New Brighton and Conway.

The chief of the Rochester Fire Department told WPXI that the original fire was out by 6 a.m. Saturday.

The state Department of Environmental Protection said the building had been abandoned for about 10 years and there was an emergency demolition last week the agency was handling, the station reported.

The DEP said a contractor left the building Friday evening, and fire crews were called at about 9 p.m. after a chemical reaction sparked a fire.

It appears there was a roof collapse at what was an old swimming pool supply shop that was full of chemicals. That’s why there was chlorine in the building.

Emergency officials told WPXI that the shelter order was originally issued after the fire ignited and there was a hazardous gas emission from the scene in Rochester.

The station also reported that residents in the area called in stating they had trouble breathing in the area, and reporter Lori Houy, who was on the scene, reportedly had to leave the area due to inhaling the fumes. She then reported from neighboring Ambridge.

The Beaver pool is closed until further notice.

Samson X Horne is a Tribune-Review digital producer. You can contact Samson at 412-320-7845, [email protected] or via Twitter .

Categories: News | Top Stories | Regional
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.