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DEFENSE COMMUNITIES 360

Fire Destroys 111 Buildings at Former Arkansas Installation

  • August 8, 2011
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The Fort Chaffee Redevelopment Authority will be forced to cope with the aftermath of a large fire for the second time since 2008 after a grass fire last week burned 111 buildings and 90 acres around an unoccupied, 1940s-era Army hospital at the western Arkansas site.

Because of toxic gases caused by contaminants such as asbestos and lead paint, firefighters allowed the hospital and nearby buildings, made of wood, to burn. Now the authority will be responsible for cleaning up the contaminated debris, Executive Director Ivy Owen told Westport News. The authority had intended to raze the buildings in the coming years, he added.

About 150 buildings, including dilapidated barracks and warehouses, across 100 acres at Chaffee were destroyed by an electrical fire spread by high winds in January 2008.

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