Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

August 16, 2013

Implosions at coke plant Sunday

Authorities urge public to stay out of the area

Carrie Stambaugh
The Independent

ASHLAND — Contractors working to clean up AK Steel’s Coke Plant in Ashland will implode a number of buildings on the site Sunday morning.

Authorities are asking the public to stay out of the area during the implosions. The work is scheduled to take place between 8 a.m. and 11 a.m., according to a Nixle alert issued Friday by the Regional Public Safety Communications Center.

According to the Ashland Police Department, prior to the implosion, all occupied vehicles in parking lots between Winchester Avenue from its intersection with Chatteroi Street and 43rd Street will be removed. The APD will block Winchester Avenue at those intersections, as well as 39th Street, for approximately six minutes.

Ashland Fire Department Inspector Michael Baer said the public is being asked to stay away from the area because of expected congestion. He said a contractor is doing the work, but he was not aware who the company was.

The AFD, Baer said, has not gotten much information about the implosions and could not identify which buildings will be destroyed.

The Ashland Coke Plant closed in June 2011. Since then, a variety of contractors have been working to dismantle the plant.

Workers dismantling tanks at the facility are believed to have started a fire that burned for several days at the plant early this year. The cause of the fire remains unknown, but officials believe it may have been started when workers removed covers from units that served to remove certain compounds from vapors produced when the plant was in operation.

 A statement released by an AK spokesman on Friday gave no information about Sunday’s planned demolitions. “We continue to move forward with our efforts to demolish the former coke plant in a safe and responsible manner,” wrote spokesman Mike Wallner.

CARRIE STAMBAUGH can be reached at (606) 326-2653 or by email at cstambaugh@dailyindependent.com.