CHICKASHA, Okla. (KFOR) – The Director of the Oklahoma State Department of Environmental Quality is regulating how a company handles hand sanitizer following a large fire that destroyed the Chickasha Manufacturing Center.
The sanitizer-fueled blaze destroyed the over-100,000-square foot manufacturing center on Sunday, Aug. 7.
Authorities learned that massive quantities of hand sanitizer were being illegally stored in the facility and around its exterior.
“We’re looking in the neighborhood of 1.5 to 2 million gallons of 75 percent alcohol-based hand sanitizer burning,” Chickasha Fire Chief Tony Samaniego said Wednesday. “Alcohol is flammable, very flammable, especially in that concentration.”
A meeting was held Friday at the Grady County District Attorney’s Office. Officials from the following agencies participated in the meeting: Chickasha Police Department, Chickasha Fire Department, Chickasha Mayor’s Office, Grady County Sheriff’s Office, Oklahoma State Fire Marshal, Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority, Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality, Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation and the District Attorney’s Office.
Officials discussed how to handle the investigation and how to move forward in the wake of the fire.
The storage of sanitizer was of particular concern, according to a news release from the office of Jason Hicks, District Attorney for the Sixth Prosecutorial District of Caddo, Grady, Stephens & Jefferson counties.
“It was good to have all of the involved agencies working together in order to move forward with an investigation,” Hicks said. “There are multiple issues that must be resolved and I am confident the right team is in place to ensure a full determination as to all issues will occur.”
The Director of the Department of Environmental Quality issued an emergency order after the initial investigation, requiring Brannan Bordwine, Bordwine Development, Inc., and any unknown affiliated entities to do the following:
- Immediately cease receiving hand sanitizer;
- Immediately cease all transporting, or the causing to be transported, of hand sanitizer, unless it is transported in accord with state and federal law;
- Immediately cease all improper disposal of hand sanitizer.
Chickasha Police Chief Kathryn Rowell served the order on Brannon Bordwine, Friday evening.
The Environmental Quality Director requested Environmental Protection Agency assistance. EPA officials accepted the request and are at multiple Grady County sites related to the sanitizer issue.
“An assessment of the situation will first be made, then the EPA will begin the process of removing the sanitizer. All efforts to ensure the safety and well-being of the citizens of Grady County are being taken,” the news release said.