Press Release: Cause of fire, what was burning still unknown after Omnis Bailey fire

Posted Jun 4, 2024, by Lisa DePaoli

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For Immediate Release: June 4, 2024

Media Contact: Lisa DePaoli, lisa@centerforcoalfieldjustice.org, 412-229-7116

Cause of fire, what was burning still unknown after Omnis Bailey fire


Washington, PA – Critical details regarding the fire that consumed a three-story building owned and operated by Omnis Bailey LLC on May 20 remain unknown. The blaze sent thick black plumes of smoke over miles of Washington and Greene Counties, raising significant public health and safety concerns. Despite the gravity of the situation, neither Omnis Bailey nor CONSOL have provided clear information about the incident, particularly regarding the chemicals involved in the fire beyond diesel fuel.

Sarah Martik, Executive Director of the Center for Coalfield Justice, emphasized, "The public deserves full transparency. Omnis Bailey and CONSOL need to inform the community about what caused this fire, the current cleanup activities, and how they will address the contamination. Where is the contaminated soil being taken? The people of southwestern Pennsylvania cannot be left in the dark."

The Center for Coalfield Justice obtained the Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) of the chemicals in the building, which we are including here. One of the MSDSs indicates that only foam or water misters (“water fog”) should be used in the event of a fire, yet millions of gallons of water were used, and it was reported that foam supplies were exhausted. The firefighting foam likely contained PFAS. It is unknown whether the fire departments were given the MSDSs. Numerous fire departments from Washington, Greene, and Fayette counties and West Virginia were dispatched, and many commercial water tankers were on the scene. 

Ethan Story, Advocacy Director of the Center for Coalfield Justice, said that “If Omnis Bailey and CONSOL refuse to provide clarity and transparency, the State needs to provide answers as soon as possible. We are looking forward to a thorough report to be released with a press conference from the state fire marshal. The report should include a full accounting of what this cost the many volunteer fire departments and others who responded to this fire, and whether Omnis Bailey or CONSOL is going to reimburse them.”


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