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DHEC tests acceptable at Summerville fire scene - Live5News.com | Charleston, SC | News, Weather, Sports

DHEC tests acceptable at Summerville fire scene

Source: Nick Nydegger Source: Nick Nydegger
Source: Nick Nydegger Source: Nick Nydegger
Source: Nick Nydegger Source: Nick Nydegger
Source: Nick Nydegger Source: Nick Nydegger

SUMMERVILLE, SC (WCSC) - Members of the Department of Health and Environmental Safety found no signs of contamination of the Sawmill Branch, they reported late Tuesday morning.

The DHEC officials from Columbia and Charleston were checking pH and dissolved oxygen levels after fire crews fought an industrial fire at the DisasterCare in Summerville on Highway 78 Monday. Officials were initially concerned that runoff water used to put out the fire would mix with the chemicals inside the business and feed into the Sawmill Branch.

However, tests did not show elevated levels and officials found no evidence of dead vegetation of wildlife.

DHEC officials will remain on scene to work with the owner of DisasterCare to ensure the cleaning agents are disposed of properly.

Monday's fire at the DisasterCare building on East 5th North Street backed up traffic backed for hours on Highway 78. Officials from the Department of Health and Environmental Control were on the scene Monday because of the potential for environmental damage to the air and water surrounding the scene.

Officials are monitoring the Ashley River for contamination because the building had solvents, cleaners and chemicals inside and there were several explosions during the fire. The runoff from water used to battle the fire went into a stream that feeds the river.

Work will also be done in Sawmill Branch, adjacent to the building, to determine conditions in the water which empties into the Ashley River several miles downstream.

DHEC spokesman Thom Berry says the agency won't know exactly what chemicals may have been dispersed until officials can inventory the building. However, early tests on air and water showed there was no contamination, Berry said.

Highway 78 reopened after fire crews spent most of the afternoon battling the industrial fire between the Berlin G Meyers Parkway and the town limits of Lincolnville.

Fire crews worked to put out the fire for much of Monday afternoon. The DisasterCare building is a flood and fire restoration company.

Investigators aren't sure what caused the fire.

Copyright 2010. WCSC. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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