In March 2014 Adamo Group Inc. (Adamo) assisted the Detroit Fire Department (DFD) with a two-alarm fire at the Palmer Promotional Products plant at 1600 Farnsworth Street. Several small fires inside the building quickly spread and converged into one huge fire that burned for five days. Adamo was called in to supplement the services of another Detroit-based demolition company, Farrow Group, Inc., who was contracted by the DFD to assist with clean up at fire-damaged sites.
With 50 years of experience and expertise, Adamo Group is called upon regularly for a variety of emergency work, including fires, sinkholes, and debris and hazardous materials management. Because these events commonly occur within city limits – affecting thousands of residents, businesses and commuters – time is of the utmost importance. Adamo acted quickly to remove the plant’s collapsing building components and keep the site contained to ensure the two neighboring facilities, which were evacuated because of the fire, would be safe to reoccupy and resume business as soon as possible.
Adamo supplied its APEX 70 UHD and Cat 385CL excavators to clear paths, which allowed the DFD to gain better access to various isolated fires. Demolition of the six-story, 500,000-square-foot factory continued under the direction of the DFD Fire Marshall to safeguard areas of the building that were severely compromised as a result of the extreme temperatures from the fire. After making the building safe, Adamo was contracted by the building owner to complete the demolition of the burnt-out factory.
Once the flames were finally exhausted and the smoke subsided, the network of buildings, some nearly a century old, was devastated. While the structures were constructed of reinforced concrete and designed to withstand extremes, they could not hold up to the fire that ravaged them for nearly a week. Buckled, crumbling concrete walls were the obvious result of the fire. Less evident was the potential environmental impact of the blaze.
Due to environmental and safety concerns associated with the site clean-up and eventual building demolition, City of Detroit officials requested the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) assist in overseeing the project. The USEPA and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) began inspecting the facility to assess the environmental impact and exposure. The evidence of regulated asbestos-containing material (RACM) in the smoldering debris piles and the potential PCB-impacted transformers were of particular concern.
Further investigation verified that the building debris was contaminated with RACM levels so great that all of the debris, including the buildings still standing, had to be removed as asbestos-containing waste materials. Adamo also promptly established protocols for the testing and monitoring of all sources potentially impacted with PCB contaminants. Safety requirements and standards were reviewed daily to ensure the protection of the workers, the buildings and neighboring occupants. Oversight officials confirmed that area residents and nearby businesses were protected throughout the project, through the concerted efforts of the USEPA’s on-site consultant, regular meetings between Adamo, the USEPA and MDEQ, and the meticulous work plans developed by Adamo and approved by the regulatory agencies. With over 60,000 cubic yards of debris removed, the project concluded with final clean up and site restoration in June 2014.