OROVILLE, Calif. - People who have lost their homes in the Wall Fire take the first steps to rebuild, having their homes screened for hazardous waste.
The Department of Toxic Substance Control or "DTS," began screening homes for hazardous materials this week. They are scheduled to screen 32 properties and are working alongside Butte County Environmental Health.
"Clearing this hazardous waste, screening properties, it is really the first step in the path to recovery," said Butte County Public Information Officer, Casey Hatcher. "It is the first step toward rebuilding and we are really thankful to have DTS here to help provide this service to residents."
Once the homes are screened, residents can remove the left over debris from burned properties.
"We can't throw hazardous waste into the landfill. So it is important that we screen the properties and address hazardous waste, and in the process remove it. And then the fire debris can go into the landfill," said Hatcher.
If a property was damaged by the Wall Fire and is not screened, waste cannot be thrown into a landfill until property owners hire a hazardous waste specialist to identify and remove hazardous waste from their property.
The Chico Fire Department gave some examples of the types of hazardous materials that are left over from burned structures.
"Vinyls- when they burn they give off a gas called "Phosgene," and if that is something that is inhaled by the firefighters that can lead to Pulmonary Edema, which is built up fluid in the lungs," said Chico Fire Captain Shawn Eccles. "When the foams burn, such as like your couch foam, inside those cushions, when they burn that is a petroleum product and they give something called "Benzene." Benzene can enter just like Hydrogen Cyanide and it doesn't have to be inhaled it can enter through the skin. And benzene is known carcinogen as well."
DTS will be screening homes this week.
Residents who have a structure that was damaged during the Wall Fire can get assistance by visiting Butte County's website, posted below, or visiting inspectors at 7 County Center Drive in Oroville to get more information about how to access services to have your property screened for hazardous waste.
Link to Butte County Local Assistance Center for Wall Fire: