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‘Critical issues’: Braintree mayor urges Clean Harbors to refrain from resuming regular operations

BRAINTREE, Mass. — Braintree Mayor Charles Kokoros has asked Clean Harbors to refrain from resuming regular operations at their site in the city due to “critical outstanding issues” after trailers filled with combustible materials caught fire last month.

City residents were told to stay in their homes with the windows closed after a blaze broke out at the Hill Avenue site on Feb. 16. Video form the scene showed raging flames devouring the trailers as firefighters worked to contain the fire.

The Massachusetts Environmental Protection Department allowed Clean Harbors to resume limited operations on Feb. 27, but Kokoros recently penned a letter to the environmental and industrial services company, urging them to stand down from becoming fully operational again.

“The Town of Braintree strongly believes that Clean Harbors should not be allowed to resume regular operations until multiple critical outstanding issues are addressed,” Kokoros wrote. “The health and safety of the residents of Braintree are of the utmost importance to me.”

Kokoros went on to demand that Clean Harbors eliminate the storage of hazardous materials in tractor-trailers on their site, as well as materials and debris from the fire.

“The practice of storing flammable materials stacked within the warehouse must be addressed to facilitate improved fire suppression, and on-site fire suppression capabilities must be upgraded,” Kokoros added.

Kokoros also requested that Clean Harbors install air-quality monitors and provide updates from readings to the city, in addition to neighborhood residents.

There were no reported injuries in the fire, but the potential exposure to toxic fumes during and after the blaze prompted widespread concern.

Dr. Anjan Devaraj, a pulmonary and critical care attending physician at Tufts Medical Center, told Boston 25 that the fire was extremely dangerous to local residents due the threat of harmful gases such as sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, phosgene, and hydrogen chloride.

Hazmat teams and other public safety agencies were called to scene of the fire to mitigate those threats.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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