No lingering air quality problems from Lackawanna fire

Jan 10, 2017

The latest round of air quality tests have found no lingering effects from a massive November fire last year at the old Bethlehem Steel complex.

That is according to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and Department of Health, the Erie County Health Department and the City of Lackawanna. The results of sampling taken December 7 were released at a public availability session in Lackawanna.

Credit WBFO's Mike Desmond

Authorities collected surface wipe samples to better understand the nature of the smoke plume that billowed over Lackawanna for days after the fire in a Great Lakes Industrial Development warehouse and to characterize any deposited soot residue associated with the fire. Authorities say analysis did not detect elevated levels of toxins or metals different than other areas of Lackawanna.

“DEC’s analysis of surface samples should come as welcome news for residents of Lackawanna concerned about potential air pollution caused by this massive fire,” said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. “The State will continue to work with our federal and local partners to ensure the air in Lackawanna is safe to breathe.”

The City of Lackawanna declared a state of emergency for 12 days during the fire that forced hundreds of Bethlehem Park residents to evacuate their nearby homes. Damages were figured in the millions.

Complete sampling results can be found on the Erie County website.