Wearing hard hats, a small group of inspectors made their way through piles of debris that still smelled of smoke at the Phoenix Recycling Plant.
“We have buildings that the building department has deemed unsafe. We have a lot of material EPA is looking at and requiring removal. So we just want to as quickly and as orderly as we can have this made safe,” said Steve Dunbar, Assistant City Attorney for the City of Columbus.
Dunbar was one of several officials who checked out the Phoenix Recycling plant that was gutted by flames May 1.
Tuesday, officials from the Columbus Fire Department, building department, code enforcement and Ohio EPA walked with the property owner around disintegrated pallets and melted plastic items.
“Every now and then you just have an incident that is so significant. A property that has so many different characteristics to it and gas the size that this does that it’s better for all of us to see first hand,” Dunbar said.
They took a closer look at buildings they could see right through and some they couldn’t see at all.
“Some of which were skeletons of what they were. Some of which you wouldn’t recognize as buildings,” Dunbar said.
The goal of the inspection was to point out safety issues and to figure out a plan on how to fix them.
“We’ll be working with(inaudible) To work out a clean up schedule and follow proper protocol,” said Jim Gilbert, who represented Phoenix Recycling at the environmental hearing Tuesday.
Representatives from Phoenix Recycling say they could begin moving material offsite as early as Wednesday.Dunbar said the city plans to look at Phoenix Recycling’s other facilities and check for safety issues to prevent another fire like this one.
“He has other properties I think in the city and outside the city so if we have similar activities going on we want to take a look at those and make sure they’re safe also,” he said.
The city says before the fire it had already been working with Phoenix Recycling to improve safety.
“There has been decent work towards compliance but we have not gotten where we need to be,” Dunbar said.