Toxic materials spilled into a nearby creek when a Marietta chemical warehouse went up in a hellish blaze last month, killing thousands of fish for miles downstream.
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After a May 23 explosion and fire destroyed a Marietta chemical warehouse, the AJC worked to determine whether dangerous substances were released into the air or water. Initially, authorities had assured the public that air monitoring did not detect any risk. But the AJC discovered that there was a four-hour delay in extensive air testing that might have detected toxic chemicals, and that neither firefighters nor state officials knew which toxic and hazardous chemicals were in the warehouse at the time. The AJC also found that the fire had resulted in a fish kill downstream from the warehouse, even though both Cobb’s fire department and the Environmental Protection Division had not detected contamination. Reports of the fish kill prompted an investigation by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.
Fish killed in Sope Creek
An estimated 9,590 fish were killed in Sope Creek, after a chemical fire at the Amrep chemical warehouse in Marietta. But that number is likely an undercount, according to a report from the Wildlife Resources Division of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. Because water in the creek was murky and jammed at points with woody debris, observers could not detect all the dead fish. Other wildlife that died included crayfish and salamanders.
Species, estimated number
Bluegill sunfish, 2,944
Redbreast sunfish, 909
Green sunfish, 671
Spotted bass, 51
Redear sunfish, 43
Largemouth bass, 29
Golden shiner, 7
Blackspotted topminnow, 7
Go to MyAJC.com to read the investigative report by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources