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Arson blamed for St. Paul fire

March 23rd, 2012 | Jim Paulin Print this article   Email this article  

The fire that destroyed a warehouse in St. Paul last month was deliberately set, and several suspects have been identified in an ongoing arson investigation, according to Kevin Alberg, the island village's director of public safety.

Alberg said nobody has yet been charged or arrested for the blaze that destroyed the warehouse occupied by Trident Seafoods, and owned by the village Native corporation Tanadgusix. Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation said hazardous materials may have been released during the event, saying that petroleum products, water treatment chemicals, paint, roofing tar, sealants and other hazardous materials were stored in the building.

"Soils, ice and debris from the site are being sampled right now? DEC is looking at both the interior and exterior runoff areas. Also there may be asbestos contamination on the pad and in runoff," DEC spokesman Ty Keltner said last week.

"With the berms, snow piles?debris and safety issues in the area, the assessment and characterization of the site will be an ongoing process during cleanup," Keltner said?There is a security guard on site 24 hours a day, seven days a week, he added.

Smoke from the blaze forced the closure of the school for a half-day, as smoke fumes were drawn inside the building's ventilation system in the Pribilof Islands community.

The warehouse mainly stored cardboard packaging material and salt for Trident's seafood processing operations.

No damage was reported to the Alaska Commercial Co.'s store adjacent to the warehouse, though heat was felt through the wall. Firefighters sprayed foam on the supermarket, to protect the building, a store manager said.


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