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Apex Residents Speak Out Against Town, EQ Officials

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APEX, N.C. — The Apex chemical fire made national headlines as it forced thousands of people from their homes. Almost two weeks later, those residents are demanding answers and assurances from the town's government.

The packed house at Tuesday's town council meeting rose to give town officials a standing ovation for their quick response to the disaster at the Environmental Quality hazardous waste warehouse. But the crowd soon went from commending the town to condemning it for its follow-up to the disaster.

Oct. 17: Apex Town Meeting

The council chambers were at full capacity as the town received an update on the response to the disaster. Officials said they have tested the air and water around the EQ facility, but found no dangerous levels of contaminants.

But residents said not enough testing has been done to ensure their safety.

"What's taking so long?" asked one Apex resident. "Please answer that question, because my children are playing in my backyard."

EQ spokesman Scott Maris was at the meeting to apologize for what happened. But Mayor Keith Weatherly said that's not good enough.

"We will resist any attempt by your company to rebuild here in Apex," said Weatherly.

EQ said it is focusing on the cleanup and has not made a decision about rebuilding. The town attorney says current zoning will not allow the temporary storage facility for hazardous materials to reopen, but state law allows the company to apply for an exemption.

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