Fire and Hazardous Materials Incident - 01/28/01
Units from the James City County Fire Department responded to a report of a shed fire at 275 Neck-O-Land Road near the Gatehouse Farms subdivision at 9:18 p.m. on Sunday evening 01/28/2001. The caller reporting the incident said that there were some drums burning near a shed, and that the shed was not attached to the house. The caller also reported that there was a tractor in the shed. Gatehouse Farms is located just South of the City of Williamsburg, in James City County. There is a file attached to this press release with a map of the area.
The County Fire Department responded with a single Engine Company. Upon arrival the units reported that a large shed (20 x 30) was fully involved with fire and called for additional assistance. A second Engine Company and Medic Ambulance Company were dispatched to the scene. The Fire Departments final response included 5 units and 16 personnel.
Totally destroyed in the fire were several tractors, along with other lawn equipment, the shed, and two automobiles. The fire involved eleven tanks that contained home heating oil and lubricating oil. Three tanks failed during the fire releasing fuel oil to the ground. Our estimate at this time is that approximately 330 gallons of fuel oil was released during the fire. We estimate that the property owner has over 2,000 gallons of fuel oil stored on the property. A one-gallon container of Malathion was also destroyed in the fire. Malathion is an insecticide. The initial investigation does not indicate any spill material reaching Powhatan Creek. Powhatan Creek is directly adjacent to the property.
The James City County Fire Marshal’s Office responded to investigate the fire and to work with State agencies in mitigation of the Hazardous Materials part of this incident. We are working with the Virginia Department of Emergency Management and the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality to ensure environmental safety. The property owner has contracted with a licensed environmental cleanup contractor to stabilize and cleanup the site.
The Property Owner is identified as Mr. Gerald H. Mepham. Mr. Mepham lives at the incident address. The cause of the fire was accidental.
During the incident it was necessary to completely block Neck-O-Land Road. The James City County Police Department responded to assist with traffic control. The National Park Service opened a gate between the Colonial Parkway and Neck-O-Land Road to alleviate traffic backups on Neck-O-Land Road. The Williamsburg Fire Department also responded with their Hazardous Materials Trailer.