Chemicals could keep Castle Rock homeowners away from home for weeks

9NEWS at 6 p.m. 11/3/16.

The Plum Creek neighborhood home that was condemned this week, after two explosive devices and chemicals were found inside, will need professional decontamination before the residents are allowed to move back.

Unknown chemicals in the home on West Prestwick Way were found in glass beakers and jugs. Combined, they could be deadly.

"We've got to step in and say, 'Look, this needs to be taken care of,'" said Castle Rock Fire and Rescue Chief Art Morales.

Firefighters bagged hazardous waste and red tagged the house earlier this week. Since it's a misdemeanor to go in, firefighters gave the residents one shot to tell them what belongings they wanted out of the house before it was padlocked.

"So we actually developed a list of items that they needed, that they told us where they were, and we went and got these items for them in protective equipment," said Morales.

The owners have a week to start getting the house decontaminated.

"In this particular case, we're looking at saying, 'Look, we want you to get somebody organized and engaged in this within seven days.' Then we want to hear the plan and that takes time. What we try to avoid is things just stagnating," said the fire chief.

When it comes to clean up, hiring the company and paying for the work is the responsibility of the homeowner. Until that's done and approved by the fire department, the family won't be able to move back.

"So you could be talking 10,000 bucks," said James Black with Jim Black Construction.

The construction company has a mitigation and environmental division that cleans up asbestos, lead and chemicals.

Since firefighters and clean-up crews don't know what the chemicals are, everything needs to be tested, logged, cleaned up and throw away at a hazardous waste landfill. That could take anywhere from one to four weeks.

"It's not typical to come into a house where nothing's marked and chemicals are all over the place and you really have no idea what you're working with. It could be a highly dangerous issue," said Black.

When his certified workers initially inspect an area of potential clean up, they're outfitted from head to toe. They wear a disposable suit, gloves, goggles and a respirator.

"Even though it's uncomfortable, it's far better to be protected from these materials than it is to not be," said Kyle Simpson with Jim Black Construction.

Once the home is given the all clear, the owners will get back the keys.

"We want to make sure that we're protecting our environment, we're protecting their lives, we're protecting our lives, our community's lives, to make sure that this is handled so that life can go on as it was before," said Morales.

Fire officials said they believe the chemicals were all purchased legally. They want to assure residents in the Plum Creek neighborhood the chemicals in the house are not spreading are are all in containers.

Copyright 2016 KUSA


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