Press release regarding the fire at the El Paso smelter

07 JUL 2011

A small fire started at the former ASARCO El Paso Smelter at approximately 2:00 AM MDT this morning that lasted for approximately 30 minutes. No one was injured and no one in nearby neighborhoods or traveling on nearby thoroughfares was in danger at any time. The fire was located on the west side of the property, approximately 75 feet from a wooden trestle and was quickly extinguished by the El Paso Fire Department at 2:30 AM MDT.

Preliminary investigations indicate that a fence post was cut down earlier in the afternoon, approximately twelve hours prior to the start of the fire. During this process it was possible that a piece of hot slag from torch burning activities embedded in a small piece of wood associated with the trestle and caused it to smolder, eventually igniting.

All demolition activities at the site have been stopped at my order pending a Root Cause Analysis and corrective measures are put in place to prevent this type of incident from reoccurring. An incident report will be filed with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The report will also be posted on the Custodial Trust’s website at

The public can ask questions or post comments on the blog section of the Trust’s website; the Trust will respond to all queries.

Roberto Puga
Custodial Trustee

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