Chesterton Tribune

Cause of POCO fire remains undetermined

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Investigators have not determined the cause of the fire which destroyed the Paulson Oil Company’s bio-diesel fuel storage facility on Wednesday.

And it’s possible they never will, Chesterton Fire Chief Mike Orlich told the Chesterton Tribune today.

Investigators have no reason to believe the fire suspicious, Orlich added, and they have found the area of origin: on the south side of the building, near the center, between some storage tanks.

But two factors have hindered further investigation to this point, Orlich said. The building—located at 300 N. 15th St.—essentially burned to the ground and possible evidence may have been destroyed. And at the moment the floor of the building is covered to a depth to six to eight inches with leaked oil. “That kind of hampered getting in and looking around.”

The oil spill was for the most part contained to the building itself, Orlich said, and while “some ran out with the water, it stayed on the property and was cleaned up by the end of the day Thursday. They have an environmental cleanup company in there right now.”

Orlich has estimated damage to the pole-barn facility itself at $150,000 and put the loss of inventory at between $500,000 and $750,000.

The Paulson Oil Company—POCO for short—was founded in 1956 by Robert Paulson but was sold in 2007 to Maxum Petroleum of Old Greenwich, Conn. It supplies motor fuels and lubricants—the latter stored at a different site in Chesterton, on Wabash Ave.—to commercial and industrial customers throughout Northern Indiana and the greater Chicago area.





Posted 7/16/2010