On Saturday, April 16th, 2016 a request was made to the Dunsmuir Fire Department to respond to a possible hazardous material scenario with the assistance of Mount Shasta Fire Department. Fire crews quickly determined that the incident scene would need to escalate the the local HAZMAT response team with SCHMRT, the Shasta Cascade Hazardous Materials Response Team from that level they contacted the Siskiyou County Environmental Health Officer, Rick Dean.
Rick Dean has been working at the property and has informed Chief Padilla that the case is now being handled by the Federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Yesterday Rick Dean and the California Environmental Protection Agency representative Nancy McGee. Ms. McGee arrived with a private contractor to evaluate the building and the grounds, their findings were the upstairs unit had an high levels of Mercury in the unit from amalgamation of gold or other ores. The amalgamation processes is used frequently by gold recoverers and is not linked with operations of fabricating methamphetamines. Due to this process being done both inside and outside it has mandated a HAZ-MAT clean-up of the residence, and surrounding property.
In addition to the mercury in the upstairs unit of the home, there was a detectable amount of Mercury in the downstairs unit requiring clean-up as well. The unit and the building has been secured since Saturday April 16 at approximately 4:45pm when the Dunsmuir Fire Department was dispatched. Chief Padilla reviewed the actions of the fire department with regards to proper notifications and concluded that were made at the time of dispatch and can find no issues of neglect or incompetence from his fire personnel.
Today, Robert Wise, the Federal EPA officer landed in Redding and is currently surveying the residence of 5807 Castle Ave, awaiting the arrival of his clean-up crew, to begin steps to mitigate the situation. The two tenants of Apartment B were initially taken to a Motel in Dunsmuir, then to Mount Shasta and finally they are in a Motel in Weed. Robert expects to be at scene for approximately 4-5 days while cleanup efforts are underway. Robert has stated that charges are pending at a federal level for negligence. Neighbors in the immediate vicinity will be visited to inform of the status of the project and what to expect.
- This poses no threat to Dunsmuir's water system.
- The house and surrounding area should not be visited by any unauthorized persons.
- The individuals mostly affected were the tenants of the building.
If you would like more information about this incident, please feel free to call City Hall.