Laurel Street reopens following Lincoln Chemical fire, on-site cleanup efforts continue

The City of Reading has reopened Laurel Street to South 9th Street to traffic following the two fires at the non-operational Lincoln Chemical Company, which occurred October 31 and November 2, 2023.

Located at 600 South 9th Street, the building contained chemicals including flammables, combustibles, acids, basis, oxidizers, and peroxides, according to the U.S. EPA. The November fire left the building in a dilapidated state and has since been half demolished.

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Although Laurel Street to South 9th has reopened, the 600 block of South 9th Street will remain closed.

The Environmental Protection Agency has posted details of their ongoing activities on a dedicated StoryMap here:

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The most recent update, posted by the EPA for the week of January 3-6 states: “Structural integrity checks occur every day before work begins. Air monitoring is on-going. Inventory and field screening of the substances in the drums and totes is also on-going.  EPA has been screening rainwater and, with approval, has been discharging it into the city sewer line. Further preparation for shipping stabilized drums and totes off-site has begun. Disposal samples are being prepared and sent out to determine which disposal facilities can accept the waste.  A portion of the building, which is structurally stable, has been designated for storing drums and totes that are ready to be shipped off-site.”

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Berks Weekly
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