News and HeadlinesIndianapolis Local NewsWayne County


Air quality alerts issued in Wayne, Randolph counties due to industrial fire

Richmond Drone Day 2.png
Posted at 12:03 PM, Apr 12, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-12 13:54:37-04

RICHMOND — As crews continue to contain a large industrial fire in Richmond, the Indianapolis Department of Emergency Management has declared an air quality action day for Wayne and Randolph counties.

"Weather conditions will continue to spread the smoke," the IDEM said in their release. "Conditions should improve overnight and Thursday."

Wayne County officials have called the smoke "toxic" and say the warehouse has been a known hazard for at least the past couple of years.

The first air quality results from the massive fire in eastern Indiana are expected sometime on Wednesday.

At least 2,000 people have been forced to evacuate from their homes near the fire, which is expected to burn for days, city and state officials have said.

The EPA says they are monitoring the air at the site on NW F Street from 15 different mobile locations. They will also begin collecting debris samples on Wednesday from the fire and surrounding community for testing to determine whether asbestos-containing materials are at play.

"Residents are asked to leave any debris alone and not touch it until EPA sample results are back," the EPA said in their 9 a.m. update. "Do not mow over the debris. Once officials determine the nature of debris."

The fire department reports that the fire is under control, but they expect it to continue to burn for several days.

IDEM offers the following tips for those who might be at risk:

  • Avoid burning wood in fireplaces or wood-fired boilers and any other unnecessary fires.
  • Reduce activity time outdoors to reduce unhealthy exposure to PM2.5 and avoid exercising near busy roads.
  • Combine errands into one trip.
  • Avoid using gas-powered equipment or recreational vehicles.
  • Keep your engine tuned, and don’t let your engine idle (e.g., at a bank or restaurant drive-thru).
  • Conserve energy by turning off lights or setting the thermostat to 70 degrees or lower.