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EPA to finish cleanup of man-made explosives at Highview home by the end of October

The demolition site at 6213 Applegate Lane
Louisville Metro Emergency Services
Louisville Metro Government
The property is walled off with shipping containers for safety purposes until the site is cleared.

Officials from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Louisville Metro Emergency Services are wrapping up the removal of man-made hazardous materials from 6213 Applegate Ln.

The agencies walled off the home in Highview with shipping containers as clean up crews removed explosive materials and debris from in small amounts, to reduce health risks and environmental damage.

In an update Friday, EPA Federal On-Scene Coordinator Chuck Berry said once the materials have been removed, the EPA will demolish the home and fill the basement hole on the property. Berry said officials expect to complete the project by the end of October.

“We found a lot of things that, I would say, surprised us that are in [the] residential home,” Berry said.

Some of the hazardous materials included compressed gas cylinders and other man-made explosives. Berry said materials like these are carefully removed from the home and placed in reaction boxes buried in the ground, which allow Berry’s team to crush the chemicals safely and extinguish any contained chemical reactions that may occur. The materials are then sent off-site for a safe disposal.

Louisville Metro Police found the hazardous and potentially explosive materials in July 2023, following a search warrant issued at chemist Marc Hibel’s home and the adjacent property. Hibel was arrested on a felony wanton endangerment charge, and Code Enforcement issued an emergency demolition order on the properties since both were a risk to public safety.

Louisville Metro officials had originally planned for a controlled burn of the properties, but concern from local residents and city attorneys stopped the motion. The EPA arrived in August and found mercury contamination both inside and outside the adjacent property. The property was cleaned up a few weeks later, and the EPA began the larger project at Hibel’s home on Oct. 8.

An official with Louisville Metro Emergency Services said this project is a slow one, but it is meant to prioritize safety in the neighborhood. The department is working with the EPA to monitor for possible contamination in the air surrounding the home. Fern Creek Fire and EMS are on scene in case of emergency until the site is cleared.

Giselle is LPM's breaking news reporter. Email Giselle at grhoden@lpm.org.

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