Mount Vernon — Several barrels of potentially dangerous and deadly chemicals including Organic Peroxide, other types of acid, were recently found dumped in Mount Vernon. Where they came from still remains a mystery. The contents of one of more barrels heated up and burst into flames and then spilled on to the ground.
Organic Peroxide and other Acids are highly flammable and usually have flash points between 100 and 150 degrees F, and relatively wide flammability limits. They are therefore considered a moderate fire hazard.
The Department of Environmental Conservation was called in Thursday after at least one barrel, and as many as three of them, spilled their contents onto the ground. The area was reportedly cleaned up Friday and the remaining barrels have been fenced off. Authorities say the barrels will be under police watch 24 hours a day until they are removed, possibly on Tuesday, News 12 reported.
“The DEC, based on their experience and their training said this looks like hazardous material,” DPW Commissioner Ralph Uzzi tells News 12.
Mayor Richard W. Thomas did not return our call requesting a comment and we had just missed him later in all the commotion at a major fire on North Terrace Avenue, early Sunday morning that New Rochelle, Pelham and Yonkers Fire Departments assisted in putting out. He did however give a brief comment to News 12 Saturday.
“It’s being taken cared of,” Mayor Thomas nonchalantly tells News 12, “and it is not an issue.”
This came one day after the mayor emphatically told News 12 on Friday, “We’ve seen building explode in NYC because of the problems that people thought were minor. So we;re not taking anything for granted, we’re taking a hard look at life safety issues.” The mayor seemed to take a harder stance of what is being called possible minor violations of OK Freddy’s Meat Market, that his administration had shut down as part of its Quality of Life Task Force, than the chemicals at DPW..
Residents should ask why a minor violation of a local business that he shut down is alleged to be more dangerous than these potentially deadly chemicals illegally dumped. Mayor Thomas took a much harder stance on the dangers of the illegal dumping at Memorial Field, than this recent dumping at the DPW yard that the Department of Environmental Conservation had to be called in for. So what exactly does the mayor mean when he says this ‘is not an issue.’
One has to ask is there more to these incidents then he is telling us. In the Fios1 Newsbreakers interview with Andrew Whitman, Mayor Thomas proudly boast of a new Mount Vernon and states, “I have no problem presenting all the information upfront, so everybody can make a decision on the same playing field.” So you can understand the reasoning behind questioning his comment, ‘It Is Not An Issue.”
Councilman André Wallace, a professional contractor who has over ten years experience dealing with Hazmat (Hazardous Material) and also is certified and teaches hazmat and disaster relief, seems to have an opposite point of view of the situation.
“It is an issue, it’s a major issue,” Councilman Wallace tells BW. “For people to believe they can still come into Mount Vernon and dump deadly chemicals in our city is unexceptionable and should be handled with extreme urgency. Any kind of chemical like that with a flash points of 100-200 degrees F can be deadly, if not stored properly.”
As a person personally took one of one of Councilman André Wallace’s OSHA 30 class, I personally know the dangers of deadly chemical and chemical reaction, tied into GSH (Global Harmonized System). Chemical like these need to be stored in a controlled environment and as you can see from the picture (above) and video (below) these were not.
AJ Woodson is the Editor-In-Chief of Black Westchester and Co-Owner of Urban Soul Media Group, the parent company, Host & Producer of the People Before Politics Radio Show. AJ is a Father, Brother, An Author, Journalism Fellow (Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism), Hip-Hop Artist - one third of the legendary underground rap group JVC FORCE known for the single Strong Island, Radio Personality, Hip-Hop Historian, Documentarian, Activist, Criminal Justice Advocate and Freelance Journalist whose byline has appeared in several print publications and online sites including The Source, Vibe, the Village Voice, Upscale, Sonicnet.com, Launch.com, Rolling Out Newspaper, Daily Challenge Newspaper, Spiritual Minded Magazine, Word Up! Magazine, On The Go Magazine and several others.