Rotten meat cleared from site of Dietz & Watson warehouse fire
Officials at Dietz & Watson say that all of the rotten meat left from a warehouse fire in Delanco, N.J., has been removed, three weeks after the fire struck.
Steve Aaron, a spokesperson for Dietz & Watson, says the magnitude of the blaze that started on Sunday, Sept. 1, and dangers of flare ups caused by solar panels hindered firefighting efforts as well as the cleanup, reports NBC News.
It took firefighters more than 24 hours to get the 11-alarm blaze at the 266,000-square-foot distribution center under control in part because of the hazards caused by solar panels installed on the gutted structure. In the coming days firefighters returned to the site multiple times to douse flare ups and hot spots at the site.
"Those solar panels prevented us from getting access to the building until September 11," Aaron said.
The warehouse was destroyed, and the 100 employees who worked there were moved to the company’s Philadelphia manufacturing plant. Neighbors soon began complaining of the stench of the charred and rotting meat that was left in the warehouse. Dietz & Watson CEO Louis Eni noted in a message that the smell had impacted the quality of life for the warehouse’s neighbors and those in the surrounding communities.
“On September 19th, we contracted with BioTriad Environmental, Inc. to implement an aggressive odor-control plan to neutralize the foul odor,” he said. “The experts at BioTriad arrived on Friday, September 20th, and immediately began to treat both the site and the trucks that are rapidly removing the spoiled food with an odor-neutralizing blend of natural, biodegradable plant extracts to form an odor-neutralizing solution. This process has proven effective at other locations, like landfills, that deal with large-scale odor problems. I have asked BioTriad to remain on site for the duration of the cleanup. Hopefully those affected already are noticing improvement in the smell around the site.”
Eni noted that the company had demolition crews on site as early as September 2 to begin the clean-up process, but the company was not given the “all-clear” to enter the building until nine days later.
“Thanks to the cooperation of Burlington County officials, landfill hours have been extended, additional landfills have agreed to accept our waste and other resources have been made available to jump-start cleanup activities. Now that fire investigators are completely out of the building, we expect the cleanup to accelerate even faster.,” Eni said. “My family has lived and worked here for nearly 75 years. We are proud to call Philadelphia and South Jersey our home and won’t rest until this problem is fixed.”
Source: NBC News, Dietz & Watson