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Warehouse to Be Built on Site Contaminated in Chemical Fire

December 08, 1985

SANTA FE SPRINGS — A request to build an industrial warehouse on the site of a 1981 hazardous chemical fire has been approved by the City Council, acting as the Redevelopment Agency.

A spectacular fire occurred on the property, on the southwest corner of Imperial Highway and Marquardt Avenue, in July, 1981, when approximately 10,000 55-gallon drums containing paint wastes and solvents exploded. Several hazardous chemicals seeped into the soil as a result of the fire, which took almost 30 firefighting units to put out. Arson was suspected but never proved.

Richard Weaver, city director of planning and development, said the current owner of the site, Marathon Cartage Co., has done extensive soil tests and studies and received a clearance from the state Department of Health Services.

A city staff report pointed out that although the state department determined that the soil does not constitute a hazardous waste, the soil is considered contaminated. A city committee that reviews hazardous waste matters determined that the proposed development could be approved.

The Environmental Protection Agency did the initial cleanup of the site after the illegally stored drums were discovered. At the time, the site was occupied by General Disposal Co. and operated by Frank Stankevich of Norwalk, who was sentenced to three years in jail in 1984 for three violations of hazardous waste laws at two other properties in Norwalk and Santa Fe Springs.

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