SANATOGA PA – Stunning growth in the occupancy rate at the former OxyChem manufacturing site on Armand Hammer Boulevard, now being marketed as the Tri-County Commerce Park, has caused Lower Pottsgrove Fire Marshal Lew Babel to begin drawing up new plans on how area fire companies could respond to emergencies there, he told the Board of Commissioners last week (Jan. 7, 2013).
Some buildings on the OxyChem site were razed, and others refurbished, during the past five years, Babel reminded commissioners. Efforts to attract new businesses to what has now become an industrial park have been so successful that Babel estimated more than 90 percent of its square footage was leased.
“They’ve made great improvements there,” Babel said of Glenn Springs Holdings Inc., the OxyChem subsidiary that has been managing the property’s clean-up and re-development. With more companies, employees, warehoused goods and vehicles on-site, however, comes a need for advance emergency planning, he added.
The buildings are what Babel described as “well-sprinkled,” and new hydrants and water lines were laid as part of the re-development, he said. He added that lessees were found, during occasional inspections, to keep their warehouses clean and orderly.
But they’re also full of potentially hazardous goods should a fire break out, Babel noted. The list includes thousands of new tires for vehicles of almost every kind; a variety of cleaning and manufacturing chemicals in drums and gallon containers; and boxes and crates of computer parts. “There could be trouble if any of those caught fire, and we need to be ready for that,” he said.
He said his plans are expected to include a complete site map, access points, and a list of current occupants and their contents. When finished, Babel said he will share the plans with the township’s two fire companies, Sanatoga and Ringing Hill, as well as others in the area that would likely also respond if needed.
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