UNITED STATES NEWS

Chief: Indiana plastics fire reduced to a single hot spot

Apr 15, 2023, 12:50 PM

RICHMOND, Ind. (AP) — Fire crews working to fully extinguish an Indiana plastics fire have reduced its smoldering areas to a single hot spot, a fire chief said Saturday as officials prepared to decide if a dayslong evacuation order should be lifted.

Richmond Fire Chief Tim Brown said crews will remain at the 14-acre (5-hectare) former factory site through the weekend, watching the sole hot spot remaining from the fire, which was declared under control Thursday night when the last flames were extinguished.

He said fire officials will meet Monday morning to decide what their next steps will be at the site, where tons of recycled plastic stored for resale caught fire Tuesday. The site is in Richmond, about 70 miles (115 kilometers) east of Indianapolis, near the Ohio border.

“Other than that one hot spot, I consider this contained, controlled and 99% out,” Brown told The Associated Press on Saturday afternoon.

Mayor Dave Snow said Friday that experts would meet Saturday to discuss air quality and other environmental issues related to the fire, all needed before lifting an evacuation order for a half-mile (1 kilometer) radius of the site. At least 1,500 people live in the evacuation zone, though it’s not known how many residents actually obeyed the call to get out after the fire began Tuesday afternoon.

Christine Stinson, director of the Wayne County health department, said she would meet Saturday evening with environmental experts to receive and discuss the latest air sampling results before making a recommendation to Brown about whether the evacuation order can be lifted.

“Until I have those air monitoring samples back we’re not going to be making any recommendations. We’re turning to the experts to help us advise the public,” she said. “We’ll be making an announcement, one way or another.”

Stinson said that announcement was expected to be posted on a website the city set up to provide residents with updates on the fire.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has said hydrogen cyanide and benzene were detected at the fire site. EPA contractors planned to collect fire debris over the weekend that landed near schools or in parks and private yards. At least one sample has tested positive for asbestos, which can harm lungs.

The fire’s cause was not known. But it quickly became an inferno, destroying six run-down buildings holding recycled plastic and creating clouds of smoke so high and dark they cast a sprawling shadow over the city of 35,000 people.

The man operating the storage site was under a 2020 court order to clean up the site, which had no utilities and had been declared a serious fire hazard by inspectors. Richmond officials said they had barred him from accepting more plastics while he was working to get rid of the vast holdings.

United States News

Associated Press

Motorist dies in fiery crash when vehicle plows into suburban Chicago highway toll plaza, police say

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. (AP) — A vehicle plowed into a suburban Chicago highway toll plaza early Thursday, engulfing it and the plaza in flames and killing the motorist, police said. Illinois State Police said troopers responded to the scene after receiving a report that a vehicle had struck the Barrington Road Toll Plaza along westbound […]

1 hour ago

Associated Press

Fire in truck carrying lithium ion batteries leads to 3-hour evacuation in Columbus, Ohio

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Authorities evacuated an area of Ohio’s capital, Columbus, for several hours on Thursday out of fear that a fire in truck’s trailer could have caused lithium ion batteries to explode. Police began evacuating a several-block area west of downtown shortly after 7 a.m. and closed off several highway exits near the […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

Man granted parole for his role in the 2001 stabbing deaths of 2 Dartmouth College professors

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — A man who has served more than half of his life in prison for his role in the 2001 stabbing deaths of two married Dartmouth College professors as part of a plan to rob and kill people before fleeing overseas was granted parole Thursday. James Parker was 16 when he was […]

3 hours ago

Associated Press

Law enforcement officials in 4 states report temporary 911 outages

Law enforcement agencies in Nebraska, Nevada, South Dakota and Texas reported temporary outages to 911 services before saying hours later that services had been restored. It was not immediately clear what caused the outages or whether they were related. Also unclear was whether any emergency situations were impacted. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which […]

4 hours ago

Associated Press

The Latest | A second seated juror is dismissed from Trump’s hush money trial

NEW YORK (AP) — Jury selection in Donald Trump ’s hush money case encountered new setbacks Thursday as a previously seated juror was excused after backtracking on whether she felt she could be impartial and fair. The status of a second sworn-in juror was also in limbo over concerns that some of his previous answers […]

5 hours ago

Associated Press

Sweeping gun legislation approved by Maine lawmakers following Lewiston mass shooting

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — The Maine Legislature approved sweeping gun safety legislation including background checks on private gun sales, waiting periods for gun purchases and criminalizing gun sales to prohibited people before adjourning Thursday morning, nearly six months after the deadliest shooting in state history. Democratic Gov. Janet Mills and the Democratic-led Legislature pressed for […]

6 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines can get you smoothly from Phoenix to Frankfurt on new A330-900neo airplane

Adventure Awaits! And there's no better way to experience the vacation of your dreams than traveling with Condor Airlines.

...

COLLINS COMFORT MASTERS

Here are 5 things Arizona residents need to know about their HVAC system

It's warming back up in the Valley, which means it's time to think about your air conditioning system's preparedness for summer.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Avoid a potential emergency and get your home’s heating and furnace safety checked

With the weather getting colder throughout the Valley, the best time to make sure your heating is all up to date is now. 

Chief: Indiana plastics fire reduced to a single hot spot