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TCI Fire in West Ghent UPDATE

The TCI Fire that lit up Columbia County skies earlier this month has left a lot of questions in its wake - Hudson Valley Bureau Chief  Dave Lucas reports

When the TCI plant in West Ghent went up in flames on August 1st, plumes of thick black smoke and a series of explosions forced the imposition of emergency measures across parts of Columbia and Rensselaer counties in New York and Berkshire County in Massachusetts.

The fire broke out around 10pm at TCI's facility on Route 9H in West Ghent-  the building housed mineral oil tanks, tractor trailers containing fuel oil, propane tanks, and other hazardous substances, including sodium that came from transformers disposed of at TCI.

There was concern over the release of PCBs into the surrounding areas, which prompted testing by several agencies. Initial results came back with low or undetectable amounts.

Cleanup of the site is in progress. A New York State Department of Environmental Conservation press release indicated the first steps entail debris removal and stabilization of buildings, to be followed by soil and groundwater sampling. DEC officials were not available for comment.

In the days that followed the fire, officials promised local residents they would hear their concerns - and addresss some of the shortcomings apparent in getting word out to them - incuding how the emergency notification was handled and the fact that Columbia County has no reverse 911 system
 -Assemblywoman DidI Barrett says a meeting will be held this week.

The meeting is to begin 6:30 p.m. Meanwhile, TCI officials invite anyone with claims from fire to visit the newly opened insurance claims office at 2532 State Route 9H, located in the old Toyota dealership.
Adjusters are available from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.