Chico fire continues cleanup following oil and grease warehouse fire

UPDATE: Butte County Public Health said that quick clean up after a warehouse fire prevented further contamination from leaked oil.

Posted: Dec 31, 2019 5:33 AM
Updated: Jan 3, 2020 2:42 PM

UPDATE 2:22 p.m. Friday, Jan. 3 - Butte County Public Health said that quick clean up after a warehouse fire prevented further contamination from leaked oil.

According to health officials, refined petroleum products, primarily unused motor oil mixed with water, which is not known to contain carcinogenic components such as Benzene or other VOCs were discharged from the fire into the surrounding area.

The areas impacted include the Campus Walk Apartments on Nord Avenue and Big Chico Creek.

Clean-up operations will start with the apartment parking lot and planters, and the Hunt and Sons public access parking lot. The cleanup response is expected to be completed around January 21, 2020.

Further exposure during the upcoming rain event will be mitigated by plugging the affected storm drains and covering affected soil areas with plastic sheeting until cleanup can be completed, according to health officials. 

According to the Central Valley Water Quality Control Board, there are no threats to drinking water.

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UPDATE 10:47 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 2 - Chico Fire Chief Steve Standridge said more than 6,500 gallons of oil and more than 7,000 pounds of grease were in the warehouse and he believes much of it burned during the fire.

Hunt and Sons, the business where the fire happened, has hired a private company for clean up.

Butte County Public Health officials said they will release new information on the situation in the coming days.

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UPDATE 4:45 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 31 - Nord Avenue was opened again just before 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday, but is scheduled to be closed again Wednesday morning between 9:00 a.m. and noon for further clean up by the Chico Fire Department.

Nord Ave. will be closed from the intersection of W. Sacramento Ave. south to W. 1st St. at Walnut St.  Residents are encouraged to use alternate routes during the three hour road closure.

No cause for this fire has been identified at this time. Because of the extent of the damage it is expected that the investigation into the cause of this fire will be a lengthy one.

According to the Chico Fire Department there was not much danger to neighbors, as the college dorm building next door was empty for the holidays.

We were told there has been concern about the safety of the firefighters, who have been cleaning up carcinogens that remain on the ground.

Also, Chico Fire wanted to point out that this incident shows the public how dangerous the threat can be from hydrocarbons and pressurized fuel storage.

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CHICO, Calif. - Fire crews are on the scene of an early morning structure fire in Chico.

Chico Fire answered the call at 12:53 A.M. Tuesday of a structure fire at 310 Nord Avenue and was on the scene of the fire within just one minute. 

Chico Fire Chief Steve Standridge tells us the structure destroyed this morning was a warehouse business called Hunt and Sons distribution.

There were no people inside the building when the fire broke out.

The fire has caused the closure of Nord Avenue from Walnut Street to West Sacramento avenue Tuesday morning. 

Chico Fire says their main concern is containing the petroleum and keeping it from running into drains, as the structure is already lost.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation at this time.

Action News Now will continue to update this story as new information becomes available. 

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