After lead paint fallout, Bloomington fire chief sets policy on controlled burning of a house: “We will not be doing that in the future.”

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.

In this B Square file photo from July of 2021, fire chief Jason Moore addresses the new class of firefighter recruits.

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.

Some of the information provided by Moore at Tuesday’s board meeting was included in a Monday news release or on a page on the city’s website dedicated to the lead ash fallout from the Nov. 5 controlled burn on High Street. Continue reading “After lead paint fallout, Bloomington fire chief sets policy on controlled burning of a house: “We will not be doing that in the future.””

Bloomington residents get some updates on leaden ashfall from fire department training

Keep children and pets away from the ash and burned paint chips that fell out of the smoke plume from a fire that Bloomington’s fire department set at 1213 High Street on Friday.

That’s the advice that local health officials gave last Friday about the ash from the plume.

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.

The light breeze on Friday took the ash westward.

Matt Murphy, who lives about two-tenths of a mile west of the burn site, did the first tests for lead, using an over-the-counter kit from 3M. Murphy tested the ash almost immediately after it started landing on his property. He’s a contractor and knew exactly where to buy the kits—Bloomington Paint and Wallpaper. Continue reading “Bloomington residents get some updates on leaden ashfall from fire department training”

2020 Bloomington city council: Out with the old, in with the new

At the last city council meeting of the year, on Dec. 18, 2019, Bloomington’s mayor, John Hamilton, delivered proclamations to the four outgoing councilmembers.

On Jan. 1, 2020, four new councilmembers were sworn in to start four-year terms, along with the five returning councilmembers, the mayor, John Hamilton, and the city clerk, Nicole Bolden.

Starting around noon on New Year’s Day in the city council chambers, the oaths of office for Bloomington’s 11 elected officials were administered. Continue reading “2020 Bloomington city council: Out with the old, in with the new”