Over 2,000 people were ordered to evacuate from an Indiana town after a massive fire broke out at a recycling plant on Tuesday.
Plumes of acrid, black smoke billowed into the sky over the plant in Richmond, Indiana — about 30 miles West of Dayton, Ohio.
Officials issued an evacuation order for all of those within a half mile of the blaze around 4 p.m. local time, according to local reports.
The order remained in effect as of 9 p.m.
“The smoke is definitely toxic,” Steve Jones, the Indiana State Fire Marshall on scene, told Fox 59.
“This fire is going to burn for a few days,” he added.
Those outside of the evacuation zone were asked to shelter in place, turn off their HVAC systems, close all doors and windows and keep their pets inside, according to Wayne County EMA.
An emergency shelter has been set up for displaced residents.
Richmond Mayor Dave Snow told Fox 59 the facility is used for recycling and stores plastic and other material. The fire, which the mayor described as “serious” and “large-scale” was mostly contained by 6:45 p.m.
“Just spoke to our Fire Chief. Environmental Protection Agency & Indiana Department of Environmental Mgt are on site & evaluating any potential hazards resulting from the fire,” Snow tweeted.
“It may take a while to complete their work.
“Once we have a report to share, we’ll convey the information.”
Thick, black smoke from the site was visible for miles and even registered on a local meteorologist’s radar.
According to Wayne County EMA, there is no danger of chemical runoff into the Richmond-area water supply, noting the substances are being “rerouted,” Fox 19 reported.
Richmond Fire Chief Tim Brown said that the massive building — about 175,000 square feet — was filled “wall to wall” with different plastics.
The owner of the building had previously been issued a citation for unsafely stacking the plastics, Brown said.
“He has been warned several times,” Brown said.
“I don’t know when exactly that was, but we were aware of the situation we were dealing with.”
“It is very frustrating for all of us,” Brown continued.
“The battalion chief on today was very frustrated when he pulled up because we knew it wasn’t a matter of if, it was a matter of when this was going to happen.”
Fortunately, no serious injuries have been reported as a result of the fire.
One firefighter reportedly hurt his ankle after falling into a ravine.
Richmond Community Schools canceled all after-school activities.
This is how a train derailment of chemicals should have been handled. Quick and Concern! Not oh well burn it. Turn on sprinklers to make it look like they are attempting something. Sheesh
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