10-23-2017 - Gov. Jim Justice declared a burning, smoldering, smoking old factory in Parkersburg to be a state of emergency.

The declaration eases a consistent path for state funds to be used to fight the blaze, which is spread across several acres and sending black smoke into the sky.

The complex has been the target pf numerous environmental fines in recent years, with little or no response from the current owners.

"Multiple state agencies have been involved in assisting Wood County since this terrible fire started on Saturday," Justice stated in a news release this afternoon. "We are committed to making sure this disaster continues to be addressed and therefore I am issuing this declaration so that essential emergency services continue without interruption."

The declaration will remain in effect for 30 days unless it is terminated or extended by a subsequent proclamation.

Wood County leaders say they are relieved and grateful that the state of West Virginia has offered financial and tangible support to fight the massive blaze at the old Ames lawn and garden tools plant.

The 420,000 square feet of property, which was storing recyclable plastics for a small business, caught fire early Saturday morning and has been burning ever since, sending a plume of smoke billowing over the city and across the Ohio border.

Local leaders say it will likely take a full week to fully put out the fire, using machinery to pull back property and then trying to douse what's below.

"This was like a 10-acre smokestack," Wood County Commissioner Blair Couch said this morning. "When it was really boiling — I think it was like 9 acres, 10-acre lot — it was like one big chimney flume straight up. So that initial flume is dropping stuff."

10-23-2017 - The Ames Company, known regionally as the "Shovel Plant," was once the world's largest manufacturer of shovels and other hand-held tools, is now in the dust following a gigantic weekend fire.

It was a company going back to Revolutionary War days, coming to Parkersburg about 1910.

Closing in 2005 and sent to China following a labor dispute, hundreds of Calhoun men, and some women, worked at the facility over the years.

Due to the anticipated change in weather conditions at the industrial fire located at Camden Ave., the smoke cloud may be driven closer to the ground effecting homes in the immediate area.

For those persons that may be effected or prefer to avoid these conditions the American Red Cross has established a voluntary shelter at the South Parkersburg Baptist Church located at 1655 Blizzard Drive, Parkersburg.

Wood County Schools will not be holding Monday classes as a result of the Ames Plant fire which broke out early Saturday morning in south Parkersburg.

The fire is expected to burn for several days despite hundreds of thousands of gallons of water poured on the blaze.


AND: Ames Fire Parkersburg

PUBLIC NOTICE ISSUED: At present officials are conducting air quality samples as well as lab testing of sample fallout materiel taken from the Parkersburg and surrounding areas.

Until these samples are examined the substances contained within the smoke cloud is undetermined. We would strongly suggest avoiding exposure to the smoke and its byproduct until the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection has conducted their testing.

We are also getting reports of particle fallout material in locations in Williamstown and Marietta. These particles can be harmful to the respiratory system. Once again we would strongly advise not to expose yourself to these particles.

Initial air monitoring testing completed in the immediate and surrounding area of the fire scene shows air to be within acceptable quality limits.

A later notice said large clumps of debris falling on property has been declared non-toxic.

UPDATE 10/21/2017 4:00 P.M.

Officials have placed a respiratory hazard warning stemming from the smoke caused by the fire at the closed O. Ames plant in south Parkersburg.

It is strongly advised to not subject yourself to the smoke of this fire unnecessarily.

The Wood County Commission has declared the scene a disaster area.

Smoke and large debris has traveled toward North Parkersburg, Wolliamstown and Marietta.

Above pictures show the type of debris from the fire
that has landed on property of nearby residents

A list of products that were potentially inside the Ames Plant at the time of the fire from Wood County Commissioners:

-Carbon black
-Titanium dioxide
-Maleic Anhydride TLV 0.1 ppm
-PTFE (Teflon)
-Styrene- Acrylonitrile
-Polybutylene Terephthalate
-Acrylic Sheet

UPDATE - At approximately 12:30AM on Oct 21st fire departments from Lubeck, Deerwalk, Eastwood, Blennerhassett, Vienna, Williamstown, Pond Creek, Mineral Wells, Washington Bottom, as well as Parkersburg Fire were initially summoned to a structure fire located at 3801 Camden Ave, Parkersburg. The structure was formerly the Ames Tool Plant spanning some 420,000 square feet. The facility was currently being used to house various plastics and other articles.

As fire crews arrived on the scene the building was engulfed in flames. Through the night other area fire departments and manpower were requested to assist with the blaze. Fire crews from Marietta, Little Hocking Ohio along with crews from Ritchie and Jackson County, WV are now on scene.

Other agencies in support of this incident include the American Red Cross, WV Department of Highways, Parkersburg Police, Wood County Sheriff's Office, Camden Clark Ambulance, St Joseph Ambulance, Wood County Health Department, WV Department of Environmental Protection, Wood County Emergency Management, WV Emergency Management and E911.

Roadways surrounding the fire scene that have been closed include, Camden Ave and Broadway, Camden Ave and Olive Street, Camden Ave and Myrtle Streets along with connecting alley ways.

Departments are now drafting water from the Ohio River to relieve the stress placed upon Parkersburg's water supply. Officials have placed a respiratory hazard warning stemming from the smoke caused by the fire at the closed O. Ames plant in south Parkersburg.

It is strongly advised to not subject yourself to the smoke of this fire unnecessarily.

The Wood County Commission has declared the scene a disaster area.

Smoke and large debris has traveled toward North Parkersburg, Williamstown and Marietta.

Fire crews are expected to be on the scene for several days and the surrounding roads are likely to remain closed for the duration.

As the situation develops more information will be made available to the public.

10 AM 10/21/2017 - A fire at the former O. Ames Plant in south Parkersburg continues to burn Saturday, with flames and heavy smoke continuing to pour from the site, heavy black smoke covering most of the Parkersburg area Saturday.

Authorities say the fire at the plant on Camden Avenue broke out shortly before 1 a.m. and the flames quickly engulfed the property.

Residents reported hearing several explosions shortly after the fire broke out.

Early Saturday, flames were soaring 100 feet in the air, creating toxic smoke for nearby residents.

Broadway Avenue at Camden Avenue is closed, along with multiple streets that lead onto Camden Avenue in the vicinity of the plant.

Authorities are asking people to avoid the area. They're also advising anyone with breathing problems to stay indoors if possible.

Firefighters from Parkersburg and every Wood County volunteer department were called to help fight the blaze.

Firemen were seeking assistance to place pumps in the Little Kanawha River. The American Red Cross has also been called into to provide food, ice and other supplies for firefighters.

O. Ames at one time employed several hundred regional workers, but was globalized to China, by that time the huge, old structure was antiquated.

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