Another controlled burning of an “acquired structure” like the house at 1213 High Street on Bloomington’s east side will not take place while Jason Moore is the city’s fire chief.
Burning the High Street house to the ground on Friday Nov. 5—after three previous days of live fire training inside the house—caused a plume of lead-based paint chips and ash to cover a portion of the neighborhood to the west.
At Tuesday’s regular meeting of Bloomington’s board of public safety, Moore described the balance of benefits from the training compared to the risk. “We did receive some very valuable training out of this, but it’s not worth the risk,” Moore said.
The fire chief continued, “So I can assure everyone that as the chief of the department, we will not be doing that in the future.”
Immediately after the conflagration caused the lead-contaminated plume to settle on his neighborhood, councilmember Dave Rollo started mulling city legislation against such training fires.
On Tuesday, Moore addressed those city councilmembers, including Rollo, who were tuned in for the board of public safety meeting, which was held as a Zoom video-conference. “With or without that legislation, I can assure you that we do not intend to conduct another controlled burning in an acquired structure again,” Moore said.
The board’s Tuesday meeting was also a chance for Moore to give some updates on the extent of the hazard, progress on the clean up, the cost of the work, and some specific direction to residents.
It’s the same advice that was relayed by the fire department in a news release this Wednesday. On Friday, the fire department burned the house to the ground, after conducting a week-long series of training exercises involving smaller fires, each of which were extinguished.
The ash and burned paint chips are now confirmed by independent tests to contain lead. That’s consistent with the testing that’s been done on pieces of trim from the vintage 1951 house that was burned.