Richmond fire could force thousands out due to toxic smoke

— Global Media Enterprise
— Global Media Enterprise

A massive fire erupted at a recycling plant in Indiana on Tuesday afternoon, causing black smoke to rise into the air. This resulted in more than 2,000 locals being instructed to evacuate the affected area. 

Richmond, the city where the fire occurred, is located approximately 70 miles to the east of Indianapolis and close to the western border of Ohio. 

During the fire at the recycling plant, plastics were one of the materials being consumed, and as a result, a dense, dark plume of smoke was seen emanating from the location on Tuesday. Indiana State Fire Marshal Steve Jones confirmed during a news briefing that the smoke was undeniably hazardous, according to CNN.

“There is a host of different chemicals that plastics give off when they’re on fire, and it’s concerning and we want to make for sure we give people heads-up on an evacuation,” CNN quoted Jones.

The evacuation order was extended to individuals within a 0.5-mile radius of the fire. Indiana State Police confirmed that the fire happened at the former Hoffco factory, which ceased operations in 2009. 

The Wayne County EMA specified that people within half a mile of the blaze must evacuate, whereas those outside of the evacuation area were advised to keep their windows shut and pets indoors.

Richmond Mayor Dave Snow described it as a “serious, large-scale fire”, reported Fox News.

“Many units are on scene,” Snow was quoted as saying by the outlet. “Please avoid this area if possible, as it is dangerous, and allow our first responders room to get this under control.”

“The smoke is definitely toxic,” said the Indiana State Fire Marshall told Fox 59.

“This fire is going to burn for a few days,” he added.

The Bethesda Worship Centre provided provisional housing for individuals who were compelled to leave their residences, while additional organisations were making arrangements for lodging in hotels if required, AP reported.

On Tuesday evening, Mayor Snow announced that the fire personnel had successfully controlled the fire on the northwest side of the city and were now making efforts to contain the fire on the East side to avoid further spread. No further particulars were obtainable at the time.

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