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Thousands Evacuated in Indiana After Fire Breaks Out at Recycling Facility

Article-Thousands Evacuated in Indiana After Fire Breaks Out at Recycling Facility via Getty Images Breaking news graphic
Large plumes of toxic smoke choked parts of Richmond when a building storing plastic and other recycled materials went up in flames.

An industrial fire broke out yesterday afternoon at a facility in Richmond, IN, storing plastics and other materials for recycling, sending large plumes of toxic smoke through the area. Approximately 2,000 people have been evacuated.

Richmond Mayor Dave Snow said the inferno at the facility was caused after a tractor-trailer truck caught fire and the blaze spread to the nearby building, which was storing plastic and other recycled materials, reported the Indianapolis Star.

When firefighters arrived at the recycling facility yesterday in response to the fire, they found a semitrailer behind one of the plant’s buildings engulfed in flames, said Richmond Fire Chief Tim Brown, according to CNN. The trailer was loaded with an “unknown type of plastics,” and the fire spread to other piles of plastics around the trailer and eventually to the building, Brown said.

Speaking with the Associated Press, as reported by NPR, Snow said that the owners of the recycling site were under a city order to clean it up. “We knew that was a fire hazard the way they were storing materials,” he said.

Wayne County Emergency Management issued evacuation orders for residents and persons within 0.5 miles of the incident yesterday. The agency recommended that those nearby but outside of that immediate area shelter in place.

As of this morning, toxic smoke was still billowing, tweeted WLWT meteorologist/reporter Adam Burniston. “Officials believe it could be a few days before the fire is completely out,” he wrote.


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