The Bloomingtonian

Information meeting planned for 5 p.m. to address alleged lead paint contamination after controlled burn last Friday

Members of the Bloomington City Council have planned an information meeting tonight from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. to answer questions and take comments from the community after a controlled burn last Friday in Bloomington may have spread lead contamination across parts of the eastside.

Here is the zoom link:

https://bloomington.zoom.us/j/85319805350?pwd=bEIvd0YzN3ltOTJVOFFBYml6cVpsQT09

Members of the Bloomington Fire Department burned a plantation-style house on a lot at 1213 S. High Street early Friday as part of a training exercise. The city posted photos of the burn on Facebook. Soon neighbors in the area said paint chips had been lifted into the air by the fire and spread onto their properties.

The Bloomingtonian is seeking the answer to whether the lead chips exceed federal minimum standards. The chips were sent for testing according to a text from Matt Murphy. Bloomington City Council member Dave Rollo hopes some answers will arrive Wednesday.

Community member Matt Murphy provided a map of the potential contamination zone, and a photo of the burning house to The Bloomingtonian:

Courtesy map
Courtesy photo



Bloomington City Council member Dave Rollo provided the following e-mail to members of the community:

“Dear Neighbors,

Please join Dave Rollo (City Council District 4), City Council member
at-large Susan Sandberg, and Council President Jim Sims for an
informational meeting on the status of what we know of the controlled
burn at 1213 S. High St.

We will do our best to answer questions and we welcome comments.
We’ll also compile those questions that require further research or
expertise to be answered on the City Council’s website.

The meeting will be held tomorrow (Wednesday), November 10, from 5 —
6:30 pm.  It will occur by zoom at:

https://bloomington.zoom.us/j/85319805350?pwd=bEIvd0YzN3ltOTJVOFFBYml6cVpsQT09

If you cannot attend, but would like to submit questions, please
e-mail me at: [email protected]

Best Regards,

Dave Rollo
City Council, District 4
812-272-2207”

The City of Bloomington sent the following press release Monday:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

November 8, 2021

For more information, please contact:

Jason Moore, Fire Chief, [email protected] or (812) 349-3891.

City, BFD Conduct Cleanup After Controlled Burn

Bloomington, Ind. – The City of Bloomington and the Bloomington Fire Department (BFD) are leading the cleanup of debris generated by the controlled burn of a structure at 1213 South High Street on Friday, November 5.  Residents in the vicinity may request that their property be evaluated for remediation by completing this form on the City’s website.  After encountering delays in contracting with one environmental remediation company, the BFD is working to identify and contract with an alternate service provider to conduct the evaluation and cleanup, to be offered at no charge to affected residents.  

Since the controlled burn, BFD crews led by Bloomington Fire Chief Jason Moore have been surveying the vicinity, collecting debris, and going door to door to survey residents and document the dissemination of the debris.  Mayor John Hamilton has coordinated with Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) Commissioner Bruno Pigott to prioritize testing of the debris collected on Friday, November 5 to determine its toxicity level.  Initial test results indicate the presence of lead in the samples collected.  BFD will continue to coordinate with IDEM to implement recommendations for remediation.  Residents may dispose of bagged debris and used cleaning materials in specially marked receptacles that were placed in the area Sunday.  

On Friday, November 5, the BFD conducted a controlled burn of the house located at 1213 South High Street as a training exercise designed to improve the department’s firefighting skills. The owners secured a demolition permit and donated the structure for the BFD’s training purposes.  As required, the controlled burn was reviewed and approved in advance by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM), and the approval was published in the Herald Times on September 21. The permit approval was also sent to the Monroe County Public Library for public posting and to the Monroe County Health Department. In compliance with state and federal requirements, all of the utilities were disconnected and potentially toxic contents and components of the structure–including furniture, carpeting, asphalt roofing shingles, roofing underlayment, and vinyl siding–were removed prior to the controlled burn.

During and following the burn, area residents noticed and collected what appeared to be pieces of paint debris in the area.  After receiving a complaint about potential lead contamination of the debris, BFD administration immediately contacted IDEM and Monroe County Emergency Management to report the issue.  IDEM visited the site Friday afternoon, November 5, to measure the extent of the dispersal of debris and take samples.  

Local health officials recommend keeping children and pets away from paint debris.  

More information is available at bloomington.in.gov/bfdburninfo or 812-349-3891. 

The City will provide updated information as soon as it becomes available. 

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