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Police and fire

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Cathie Rowand / The Journal Gazette
View from the air of the Momper Insulation site.

City air, water OK after fire, officials say

Laura J. Gardner / The Journal Gazette
Junk Ditch is getting sand bags to create a dam for the runoff.

In the wake of a downtown fire that released a billowing plume of black smoke into the air, Fort Wayne's air quality is fine and its drinking water is safe, Mayor Tom Henry announced at a news conference this morning.

"Yesterday, you saw the city team working at its best," Henry said, referencing the number of local agencies needed to fight the fire at a local insulation business.

Momper Insulation, 2431 W. Main St., caught fire Sunday, prompting a massive response from the city fire and police departments as well as the Fort Wayne-Allen County Office of Homeland Security and other agencies.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation. Firefighters are currently doing a "controlled burn" – essentially, letting the fire burn – while officials assess what chemicals were inside the business.

Bernie Beier, the director of the local homeland security office, spoke at today's news conference and said a runoff from fighting the fire drained into Junk Ditch, a stream that flows behind the warehouse and eventually into the St. Marys River.

This runoff did have some visible contaminants, Beier said, but that water was confined to the Junk Ditch.

The Indiana Department of Environmental Management will spend several days determining what specific contaminants are in that water, Beier said, but so far there is no indication that any drinking water that goes to nearby communities in Ohio and other counties from the St. Marys is contaminated.

Beier said that wildlife in the Junk Ditch is also being monitored and assessed by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.

jeffwiehe@jg.net

Video

To see a video from the fire, click here.

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