Damages fighting C6-Zero fire could cost Marengo Fire Department $80,000

KCRG-TV9's Mollie Swayne talked with firefighters about how this will impact their work.
Published: Dec. 11, 2022 at 10:38 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

MARENGO, Iowa (KCRG) - The Marengo Fire Department is taking stock after the explosion at a shingle recycling plant Thursday that injured at least 10 people.

Mark Swift, treasurer for the Fire Department and firefighter since 1986, said, “I’ve never been to a fire like this and never been that long at a fire scene.”

Swift said because of the products housed inside the C6-Zero plant, fighting this fire led to unusual after-effects.

“All of our gear has got the oil stains from the product they were making down there,” Swift said. “We’re busy trying to figure out if we can get it clean, and we’ve not been able to get stuff cleaned so far.”

The problem is more than not being able to get out stains.

“That’s flammable stuff. It’s stuck in those pants. And you don’t want to go into a house fire with flammable stuff on your pants,” Swift said.

As a result, Swift said the Fire Department may have to get new gear, and that’ll cost them.

“It’s about $3,000 per person. And we got 28 guys who probably have to have new gear. So that’s like $80,000 for the stuff we got to replace,” Swift said.

The department is still working to figure out the logistics of the clean-up while knowing they have to keep an eye on the future.

“If we were to have a fire right now we’d be in big trouble because [the firefighters] can’t put protective gear on because it’s all wet or it’s stained or it’s got oil in it,” Swift said.

The community of Marengo is also still feeling the effects of the explosion. Cassie Mason lives about a block away from the plant. She and her mother were evacuated from their home.

“There was emergency vehicles trying to get down here. So they start blocking off the streets,” Mason said. “It was just—like, it was chaos.”

Mason said that chaos took its toll.

“I’ll tell you what. Yesterday I got up and worked for a while and I was going to work some overtime and all sudden I ended up in bed for four hours. And I think it was just, you know, decompressing,” Mason said.

“I’m sorry, but that should not be happening in a residential area. Just for the fact of what happened,” Mason said.