From Burnt Homes to New Foundations: How One Company is Giving Back to Fire Recovery

In the days after the October 2017 wildfires, emergency officials knew that the cleanup process would be a long haul. They also knew they needed to start working immediately to identify a partner that could immediately take in the hundreds of thousands of tons of debris and hazardous materials. It turns out, the new owners of Pruitt Industrial Park in Windsor, Calif, had just that experience, and the industrial yard space.

“With our background in waste management, we played a similar role processing debris from the Valley Fires in Lake County in 2015. While we had hoped to not put those skills to use again, we knew we could offer experience and lessons learned in helping the recovery here in our new home in Sonoma County,” said Kristyn Byrne, property manager of Pruitt Industrial Park.

Their company had only just taken over management of the industrial park, home to dozens of small businesses utilizing their warehouse and yard spaces, a few weeks earlier. So it was a surprise to get the call from the Army Corps of Engineers and FEMA representatives, wondering if they could accept fire debris, and accept it immediately.

With little time to lose, Pruitt Industrial Park launched into planning mode to figure out how to make room in the park for hundreds of thousands of tons of concrete and metal, much of it concrete and rebar from burned home foundations, burned vehicles and other materials. They relocated some of their current tenants and maximized use of all potential space to respond to the crisis. And in the weeks and months after the fires, hundreds of debris-laden trucks came through daily, depositing over 100,000 tons of debris to be recycled for reuse.

 

HELPING TO REBUILD

With over 5,300 homes destroyed in the October fires, sourcing new materials is a major concern for the construction companies working to rebuild at a fast pace. Thanks to the recycling process that Pruitt Industrial Park has put into place, the concrete from homes lost in the fires can be recycled and utilized in rebuilding the homes that were lost.

The recycling process separates metal from concrete, and then breaks down the concrete, washes it, and processes it into new clean recycled baserock suitable for use in building new roads, driveways, and concrete pads for homes.

The owners of Pruitt Industrial Park were looking for a way to give back to the recovery. In addition to their work providing recycled baserock, they have committed to donating $1 for every ton of baserock sold, to our Sonoma County Resilience Fund.

“In times of disaster, it’s incredible to see how our community can come together to find creative ways to heal,” said J Mullineaux, vice president for philanthropic planning. “We are incredibly grateful to Pruitt Industrial Park for their commitment to recovery and to our Resilience Fund.”

For further information, go to North Bay Business Journal’s coverage of the story.

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