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Cheboygan Tissue Fire

 
Site Contact:
Corey Peaslee
OSC

(peaslee.corey@epa.gov)

Site Location:
502 S. Main Street
Cheboygan, MI 49721
response.epa.gov/CheboyganTissueFire
NRC#: 1378960

September 15, 2023 Site Update

The fire at the Tissue Depot has been extinguished and the fire department continues to monitor for flare-ups. EPA collected 25 samples in and around the fire site. Today, results confirmed all samples were negative for asbestos. Air quality has been monitored for 24 hours showing all areas are at safe levels.

 

The booms in the Cheboygan River have been removed and the debris collected.  The river and Cheboygan lock near the dam are open. A fish consumption advisory is in place for some areas of the river while testing for heavy metals is underway. Results are expected next week. 

 

Fencing will be placed around the site this weekend. Residents must stay out of the fenced area. Residents are also asked to continue obeying the road closure signs in the area. Cleanup of Main St. will take place over the weekend to allow the businesses on the south side of the plant to open. The Main Street area traversing between the plants will remain closed as the conveyer crossover connecting the two plants is unstable. Cleanup and demolition are being discussed between local, state and federal agencies and the building owner. 

 

September 14, 2023 Site Update

EPA continues to assist local and state agencies responding to the fire at the Cheboygan Tissue Depot. Air monitoring continued overnight and showed a decrease in particulates to safe levels. Higher levels that were observed in areas near the dam have returned to levels considered to be safe. The shelter in place order was lifted today at 1:30 p.m. 

Today, in addition to air monitoring, EPA continued to clean up debris and firefighting runoff from the river. Samples are being collected and sent to a lab to be analyzed for potential hazards. The results of the testing can take from three to seven days.   

Residents are advised not to fish at the Cheboygan dam or down river from the dam. Residents should avoid the area of the fire as it is considered an active investigation. Areas downwind from the fire may notice dust or other debris in their yard. EPA reminds residents to leave any debris alone and not touch it until EPA sample results are back. Please do not mow over the debris. Residents are requested to not cut your grass or do any work that may raise dust back in the air until the results come back.  Wipe your feet, and if you have pets, it is recommended to wipe their feet off before entering the home. Once officials determine the nature of debris, new information will be shared.

 

If the public has further questions about air and ground quality prior to the results coming back they should contact the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services at 1-800-MITOXIC.

 

Background

On Wednesday, September 13, around 11:30 a.m. EDT, a fire erupted at a commercial warehouse in Cheboygan, Michigan. The City of Cheboygan Fire Department responded with support from the Cheboygan County EMA. The City of Cheboygan and the State of Michigan requested assistance from EPA to conduct air monitoring and sampling to support the response. EPA mobilized to the site to provide air monitoring and additional technical support. The Cheboygan County Sheriff issued a shelter in place warning for a 1-mile radius surrounding the fire.