More than 2 million gallons of water were used to fight Brookside fire

Wednesday, May 30, 2012 | 11:30 a.m. CDT; updated 11:54 a.m. CDT, Wednesday, May 30, 2012

COLUMBIA – According to data from the Columbia Water and Light Department, more than 2 million gallons of water were used to fight Sunday morning's fire at Brookside Apartments on College Avenue and Walnut Street.

That's more water than could fit in 3 Olympic-sized swimming pools, and it's twice as much water as the water tower on Walnut Street holds.

As of yet, it is unknown what effect, if any, the fire may have had on water quality. According to Renee Bungart of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, one staff member was on site at Flat Branch Creek on Tuesday to gather water samples, which will be sent to a state laboratory for assessment.

Flat Branch Creek fell victim to a massive fish kill in April, traced back to a fire at O'Reilly Auto Parts on Business Loop 70. The water used to extinguish the blaze became laced with chemicals and traveled to the creek through the storm water system.

Sean Ernst, conservation agent with the Missouri Department of Conservation, said water quality issues are usually diagnosed by fish kills. As of Tuesday morning, none had been reported by the public.

Calder Cleavelin and Maoling Xiong contributed to this report.

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Andy Schuette May 30, 2012 | 11:41 a.m.

"As of Tuesday morning, none had been reported by the public."

That's because the kill from the O'Reilly fire was almost a complete kill. It'll take at least a year to get a lot of that life to start to return.

(Report Comment)
Louis Schneebaum May 30, 2012 | 11:48 a.m.

Sounds about right. Considering the fact that Flat Branch runs straight into Hinkson a couple of miles away, one also has to wonder what impacts this had on the already ailing stream.

(Report Comment)
Kevin Gamble May 30, 2012 | 2:46 p.m.

Visited the MKT trail the afternoon of the day of the fire. The water in the creek at the Flat Branch trailhead and along the trail to the west was very cloudy (more so than usual) and did have some of the ash smell, though less so than it did with the O'Reilly fire.

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