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Published: Tuesday, 6/6/2006

Pandora tap water declared safe to drink

Investigators and cleanup crews examine the Pandora Manufacturing LLC plant that was damaged by a fire last week. Investigators and cleanup crews examine the Pandora Manufacturing LLC plant that was damaged by a fire last week.

PANDORA, Ohio - The village yesterday lifted its advisory for residents to boil their drinking water, three days after a devastating fire at a chemical plant drained Pandora's water tanks dry.

Mayor John Schlumbohm said laboratory testing has confirmed that the tap water is safe for drinking. The advisory was issued because of the significant drop of pressure, which could result in bacterial contamination of the water system.

He said there was little fear of chemicals reaching the water supply.

The two water-storage facilities that together hold 220,000 gallons were refilled during the weekend, restoring service to the Putnam County village of 1,189 people, about 65 miles south of Toledo.

The fire Friday morning at Pandora Manufacturing LLC destroyed about half of the 120,000-square-foot plant, which employs 45 people who mix and put liquids into bottles and cans.

The company's products include petroleum-based products as well as additives, lotions, household and industrial cleaners, lubricants, and oils.

Mr. Schlumbohm said the company, the village's largest commercial employer, plans to rebuild and has temporarily set up offices in an unused school building.

Pandora Manufacturing also has a distribution center in Ottawa. Company officials could not be reached for comment.

The mayor said tests on water quality must be performed 24 hours apart and each test must meet state requirements for water quality before the advisory can be lifted.

Contractors are cleaning debris and removing the plant's collapsed roof, while hazardous waste cleanup crews are removing contaminants from the scene, including some of the half-million gallons of water poured on the fire.

Twenty fire departments from three counties battled the blaze. Nine people were treated for injuries or smoke inhalation.

The mayor said the company accepted an offer from the schools to use space in an unused building for temporary offices.

The company hired six firms initially to clean up the scene, although only three were on site yesterday, the mayor said.

"[Pandora Manufacturing] has been wonderful to work with," Mr. Schlumbohm said.

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