Charlestown Mall Fire Site

 
Site Contact:
Terry Kish
On-Scene Coordinator

(kish.terry@epa.gov)

Site Location:
2205 Bleecker St.
Frankfort, NY 13501
response.epa.gov/CharlestownMallFire

The Charlestown Mall Site is an 11-acre former manufacturing facility dating back to the late 19th century. Manufacturing at the site slowed until the property was eventually sold in 1956 to Sperry Univac where early computer parts were developed and assembled. Sperry Univac operated at the site until operations ceased in 1976. Charles A. Gaetano purchased the property in 1976 and redeveloped a portion of the property as a retail shopping outlet known as the Charlestown Outlet Complex. The Charlestown Mall operated at the west end of the site until 1991 when the complex became the Charlestown Business Complex which housed commercial tenants of various types.

In 2008, the New York State Department of Labor discovered un-permitted ongoing demolition which resulted in a referral from New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) for EPA to evaluate the site for a time-critical removal action. A removal action was conducted at the site from 2010 - 2011 that primarily focused on a group of several buildings that contained asbestos prior to collapse and/or illegal demolition. During the course of the removal action, EPA also encountered and removed polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) as well as drums containing hazardous substances. The removal action was completed in December 2011. In the years following the removal action, the buildings remaining at the site were not maintained, were subject to vandalism and occasional fires which were able to be contained.

Local fire departments responded to a fire call early in the morning of August 27, 2020 at the site. The fire resulted in the partial collapse of four of the seven remaining structures while six of the seven were damaged in the fire.

A 1996 Asbestos Survey conducted in several of the buildings documented the presence of asbestos containing materials (ACM) including pipe insulation and various other materials. In September 2020, NYSDEC formally requested that EPA perform a removal assessment at the site because of the potential threat posed by the presence of asbestos in building remnants.

In fall 2020, EPA posted signs to warn the public about the hazards associated with the site, installed a chain link fence and boarded up entry points into the buildings. While securing the site, EPA inspected the facility and found drums containing hazardous substances.

EPA will begin to demolish buildings, decontaminate recyclable building materials, and dispose of asbestos and asbestos-containing debris at the Charlestown Mall site in June 2022. The demolition work, which was originally scheduled to begin in fall 2021, was postponed until spring 2022. The June 2022 Community Update is available under project Documents.

A Community Air Monitoring Plan will be in place before the demolition begins. During the demolition, EPA will monitor the air and evaluate and properly dispose of hazardous materials found at the site.  

EPA and its contractors continue to implement health and safety plans and COVID-19 precautions.