DNREC Onsite to Assess Possible Environmental Impacts
Local emergency responders have been working into the afternoon today to contain a fire aboard a cargo barge in Delaware Bay approximately nine miles off the coast of Port Mahon. Crews from the U.S. Coast Guard and the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control are onsite assessing the situation after the fire was reported just after 1 a.m. today.
The DNREC Emergency Response Team joined federal and local partners monitoring the Delaware Bay by air and patrol boat for environmental impacts caused by the fire, which discharged a plume of smoke. While smoke is currently visible from the beach, air quality monitoring stations in the region are currently showing low readings of Particulate Matter (PM2.5). Data is available to the public at Airnow.gov or Purpleair.com.
The USCG and DNREC crews are also looking for debris from the barge and its cargo of disused household appliances and scrap metal, and wildlife that might be struggling from the effects of the fire. As of Monday afternoon, they had observed no debris in the water from the vessel and there have been no reports of impacted wildlife.
“We’re working closely with the Coast Guard, Bowers Fire Company and other response agencies to assess any possible environmental impacts to the bay,” said DNREC Emergency Response Chief Jamie Bethard. “While there have not been any significant areas of impact observed during the search, we’ll continue to monitor the situation.”
Bowers Fire Company is leading the incident command. The USCG and DNREC crews will continue to monitor the situation.
The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control protects and manages the state’s natural resources, protects public health, provides outdoor recreational opportunities and educates Delawareans about the environment. The DNREC Division of Waste and Hazardous Substances ensures Delaware’s wastes are managed to protect human life, health, safety and the environment. For more information, visit the website and connect with @DelawareDNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.