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Archive for Thursday, February 13, 1997

SUNFLOWER PLANT TO BURN BUILDINGS

February 13, 1997

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— Officials at the Sunflower Army Ammunitions Plant planned this morning to conduct another in a series of burns of asbestos-containing buildings.

At least two buildings will be included in today's burn, scheduled for 9 a.m. The plant's buildings are being burned as part of a demolition effort to develop the area for commercial use.

After a test burn in July, state health department officials tested debris for asbestos, which acts as a carcinogen in the air. The ash -- some of which escaped the plant's 9,000 acres -- did contain asbestos, but it was trapped in paper form and was not considered hazardous by the health department.

Oscillating nozzles were installed after that to place a water curtain over buildings at the time of a burn, helping to contain debris. Plant officials have also contemplated the use of a specialized firefighting foam called "Barricade," designed to suppress fire, making debris more manageable.

Burning was determined to be the safest method of demolition after plant officials found that, in addition to being structurally unsound, the level of explosive residue within the building's walls was dangerous.

Ordinarily, asbestos would simply be removed.

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