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Fire Department (internal)

Posted on: August 4, 2023

August 4 Update to Forest Hills Community Residents

Forest Hills Community residents:

Thank you for your continued patience as we worked to arrange testing and cleanup of the debris in your neighborhood from our July 14 controlled training burn at 1415 Bivins Street.

As promised in my earlier communication to the residents who contacted my department directly, we are committed to addressing adjacent property owners’ concerns and to being as transparent as possible in how we test and remove paint chips spread by prevailing wind conditions on the date of our training exercise.

On July 27, Matrix Health & Safety Consultants collected samples of paint chips from five (5) residential yards that reported debris from the controlled training burn. I’m pleased to report that the tested ash samples did not test positive for lead. In three of the sample paint chips collected, testing did identify lead above the EPA and HUD standard of 0.5% lead by weight. So, although the majority of the paint chips are not considered lead-based paint (per EPA and HUD standards), they are all being treated as lead-containing for remediation purposes. The results of those tests are now available on our project webpage.

Now that testing is complete, the cleanup will begin and follow guidance and protocols from the NCDHHS and Matrix Health and Safety Consultants. We have contracted with SERVPRO to begin cleanup early as early as Monday, August 7 (Tuesday, August 8, at the latest). SERVPRO is certified by the NCDHHS for lead-based paint hazard management, renovation, and repair. SERVPRO will contact by phone the residents who provided written consent for access to their property. This phone call will be to share the date they intend to be on site. If phone contact cannot be made, they will try to reach residents who provided their email address.

Please note that SERVPRO staff will not be able to move any property during this process. If there are items, such as lawn furniture, children’s toys, vehicles, etc., that prevent access to an area you believe needs cleaning, please move these objects for the SERVPRO staff. Additionally, while SERVPRO staff can answer questions directly related to the cleanup of paint chips or other debris, they will not be able to answer questions concerning the controlled training burn or City processes and procedures. Please direct those questions to Deputy Chief Chris Iannuzzi at [email protected].

If any residents believe they have paint chips and debris in their yards from this training exercise, I ask that they please visit our project webpage and complete the Cleanup Request Form no later than August 18.

Again, I appreciate your patience, and I will continue to keep you updated as this process moves forward. 


Robert J. Zoldos II
Fire Chief
City of Durham Fire Department

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