00-20
March 11, 2000
3:30 p.m.

Update on Fire in Debris-Sorting Area at Brookhaven Lab

UPTON, NY - A fire in a debris-sorting area was discovered today at 9:00 a.m. at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory. No one was injured. The fire was extinguished at 2:27 p.m. by the Laboratory's firefighters.

The fire was located in the southeastern portion of the Laboratory and originated in debris sorted for disposal. The debris consists of about 250 cubic yards of material, primarily soil, and was stored beneath a plastic tarp covering an area of approximately 20 by 30 yards. Also contained within the debris are small pieces of metal, glass and wood.

Some of the debris contains low levels of radioactivity. Air monitoring conducted in the area surrounding the fire indicates that radiation levels are at normal background values.

The Laboratory has initiated a monitoring program to determine if soil and water in the vicinity of the fire have been impacted as a result of fire-fighting water runoff. State and local agencies were notified about the fire and will be fully briefed on the event and planned recovery operations.

Brookhaven Lab occupies a 5,277-acre site, most of which is undeveloped woodlands. The fire took place in an open field and did not involve any buildings.

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