A massive fire broke out at Scott Plastics, a recycling center in Newport, TN, late yesterday, local media outlets are reporting. The building is a total loss, but fortunately no injuries were reported.
“You can still smell the burning plastic smell, you smell it all through town right now,” Ben Burns, who lives nearby, told Wate.com, the website of 6 ABC. “The heat you can feel it from a few hundred yards away last night. On top of the heat already I know the firefighters were cooking in all of their gear.”
The cause of the blaze is unknown.
Recycling fires are increasingly common in North America. Readers may recall the conflagration in Richmond, IN, in April of this year that led to the evacuation of approximately 2,000 people. “The number of major fires reported at plants in the U.S. and Canada has increased by more than a third since 2017, hitting 390 in 2022. By the end of March this year, 75 more had taken place,” reported Time in a recent article.
Experts cite several reasons for the increase: More plants opening to meet demand; a proliferation of products containing lithium ion batteries, which can self-ignite under pressure; and a hotter and drier climate.