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Runoff debris big post-fire concern in Texas

Runoff from commercial buildings, where firefighters don't know what's inside, is bigger hazard than runoff from house fires

By Denise Blaz and Brennan K. Peel
The Abilene Reporter-News

ABILENE, Texas — Whenever a major fire occurs, city workers have to do more than just make sure they extinguish it. The city's stormwater crew usually is on the scene, too, making sure hazardous runoff doesn't flow into city drains. Monday night, the Matera Paper Co. building was consumed by a three-alarm blaze in downtown Abilene. About 45 firefighters were at the scene to fight a blaze that took hours to snuff out. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Brent McClellan, Abilene's city stormwater administrator, said he and his staff were tasked with monitoring hazardous runoff by the water firefighters used.

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