Company: No health concerns to residents after explosion
LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) — Authorities were carefully monitoring the air quality at the scene and up to nine blocks away from an explosion that happened at Midwest Industrial Asphalt near Copeland Park Wednesday morning.
The company clarified during a news conference that it owns a sister company called Midwest Industrial Asphalt that operates on its grounds, but the explosion actually happened at Midwest Industrial Asphalt.
The company is on the Black River so staff and emergency crews had to make sure there was no run-off into the river as well.
The company said it has emergency plans in place to stop any sort of pollution and that preparation is paying off.
In any kind of hazardous materials situation, La Crosse County Emergency Management Coordinator Keith Butler needs to get the word out.
“There’s certain entities that should be notified about that circumstance just in case additional response is needed or if there is environmental impact to that,” Butler said.
Butler immediately called the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the state’s Emergency Management office after learning of the explosion.
“From their network that information spread out to many partners,” Butler said.
Butler said the oily, black smoke from the fire caused some air quality concerns, but when the fire was put out he said there was nothing to fear.
“Now that it’s extinguished, there’s no longer any fumes being emitted into the air so I think the problem is gone now,” Butler said.
Because the company is located on the river, Butler said the DNR worried about water contamination. However, during a press conference, Midwest Industrial Asphalt representatives said there was virtually no spill.
“The only contamination we had was basically from the fire hoses and the water that had some run off with oil residue,” ALM Holding Company president Steve Mathy said.
Midwest Industrial Asphalt said it has safe guards in place, such as berms around the tanks to prevent any sort of run-off.
“Any run-off, any ground contamination is contained on site and being cleaned up as we speak,” Mathy said.
Midwest Industrial Asphalt said there is no reason for the public to be concerned about their health.
The company said while the fire was burning, people nearby may have experienced a slight headache or sore throat, but people have no reason to believe exposure to the smoke should cause any health issues.
If you have any questions, the company encourages you to call their office at 608-782-3308.
Midwest Industrial Asphalt spent a good part of the day cleaning up excess water on site. It is also working with an environmental clean-up crew to make sure any hazardous materials will be taken care of properly.