An enormous fire situated inside a plastic recycling plant in Indiana led to the evacuation of close to 2,000 people from the area around the plant while giant plumes of toxic acrid smoke billowed into the sky on Tuesday.
Area officials called for the evacuation of a portion of Richmond, Indiana, a city of roughly 35,000 located bear the eastern edge of the state, after an industrial fire from a storage facility the mayor stated was a well-known “fire hazard.”
“They were under a city order to clean up and remediate that site,” explained Mayor Dave Snow to the Associated Press. “We knew that was a fire hazard the way they were storing materials.”
Snow went on to add a comment via Facebook that the Environmental Protection Agency and the Indiana Department of Environmental Management were “on site and evaluating any potential hazards resulting from the fire. It may take them a while to complete their work. Once we have a report to share, we will convey the information.”
Footage of a massive industrial fire in the city of Richmond, Indiana, located west of Dayton. Winds reportedly began carrying the smoke into Ohio around 4 p.m. Tuesday https://t.co/jJsqyzA9BG pic.twitter.com/2SSWyQLe1C
— FOX19 NOW (@FOX19) April 11, 2023
Anyone that lives within a half-mile radius of the fire were issued an order to evacuate, with a few finding shelter inside of a local church called Bethesda Worship Center or nearby hotels.
“The smoke is definitely toxic,” stated an Indiana State Fire Marshal, Steve Jones. “This fire is going to burn for a few days.”
Richmond Fire Chief Tim Brown stepped up to agree with the mayor, claiming that the area had been issued numerous “unsafe citation” tickets in the past. “He has been warned several times,” he claimed. “I don’t know when exactly that was, but we were aware of the situation we were dealing with.”
Brown went on to explain that the facility was stacked “wall to wall” with flammable plastics and that such a fire was avoidable. “It is very frustrating for all of us,” he stated, as stated in a Fox 59 report. “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.”
The acrid smoke from the blaze was blown out into Ohio and could be spotted from multiple miles away.
— Brian Wilkes (@BrianWilkes59wx) April 11, 2023
As of writing, no injuries have been reported due to the fire. It is not yet clear just how long the blaze could continue to burn.