Shellfish beds off Fairfield closed after fire

Environmental impact of Sept. 11 Bridgeport blaze still being assessed

Shellfish beds off Fairfield remained closed into the weekend after Thursday night’s massive industrial fire in Bridgeport.

Local, state and federal agencies continued Saturday to work together to take all steps necessary to protect public health and safety, and natural resources, in the aftermath of a five-alarm fire at 25 Grant Street in Bridgeport, Conn. that started on Thursday night.

The Bridgeport Police and Fire departments, the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the U.S. Coast Guard will remain active on and around the site. These agencies will be working to ensure that all necessary steps are taken to secure the scene of the massive blaze and to assess all materials remaining in the affected structures so they can be safely handled and removed for proper disposal.

As a result of concerns about water quality near the fire scene, and its impact on aquatic life, DEEP has issued an advisory for fishing in the area in and around Bridgeport Harbor and Yellow Creek. The state Department of Agriculture also ordered shellfish beds closed off Bridgeport, Stratford, and Fairfield. Both the fishing advisory and shellfish bed closures will remain in place until testing shows fish and shellfish taken from the defined areas are safe for human consumption. The Coast Guard has withdrawn commercial and recreational fishing prohibitions on a wider area that it had previously announced.

Air and water quality monitoring will continue to ensure that any remaining emissions from the fire do not pose a threat to public health and to determine if the runoff from water used to fight the fire contains contaminants. Officials say air monitoring that began Thursday night has not detected the presence of any materials that warrant health concerns.

“The tremendous work by local, state, and federal agencies to keep kids and families safe during this tragic event has been admirable, and it continues,” said Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch. “Power has been fully restored to the area and all displaced kids and families have returned to their homes. But there is still more that needs to be done to fully ensure the safety and security of the area, and I strongly urge residents to heed advisory calls by our state and federal partners.”

“Our staff will remain active at this fire scene for as long as we can be of assistance,” DEEP Commissioner Robert Klee said. “Our responsibilities to the residents of Bridgeport and to protection of natural resources do not end when the flames go out. We will continue to work with our partner agencies at all levels of government to make certain the aftermath of this blaze is handled properly.”

According to the DEEP, more than 45,000 gallons of water used to fight the fire have been pumped to the nearby waste water treatment plant where it can be treated to remove potential contaminants before being discharged into the Long Island Sound.

Flames consume a perfume company and a roofing operation in Bridgeport Thursday, Sept. 11. The water used to fight the fire ran into the Long Island Sound, its impact still being determined (White Hills Fire Department Photo)

Flames consume a perfume company and a roofing operation in Bridgeport Thursday, Sept. 11. The water used to fight the fire ran into the Long Island Sound, its impact still being determined (White Hills Fire Department Photo)

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