An evacuation order affecting more than 2,000 people was expected to remain in place through Wednesday around a large industrial fire in Richmond.
Saturday, April 15
EPA contractors are searching for, flagging and removing debris from the fire.
Impacted schools will be cleared of debris first. After school grounds are cleared, contractors will begin removing debris from residential properties, parks, public areas and businesses.
Individuals who suspect debris on their property should call 765.973.9300.
Friday, April 14
4 p.m. Update
Shelter, food and water are available at Oak Park Pentecostal Church. The city’s water is being tested. There has been no evidence of contaminated water.
No fish or wildlife deaths have been found. Public health officials are asking residents to avoid contact with rivers and lakes until testing is completely done.
Real time measurements are being taken. The city has results back for four samples, and the health department is examining. The city expects results for six additional samples as early as Saturday morning.
The EPA has asked for a local headquarters in the center of Richmond. They are prioritizing parks and public schools.
Thursday, April 13
9 p.m. Update
The fire has been fully extinguished ahead of schedule.
4 p.m. Update
Richmond Community Schools will be closed on Friday, April 14, 2023. There will be no e-learning and everyone is encouraged to follow the shelter in place order. Faculty and staff will not be required to work from home and are not permitted in the school buildings.
2:30 p.m. Update
1 p.m. Update
The following Reid Health locations are closed.
11 a.m. update from EPA
"Overnight, EPA continued air monitoring and sampling in the city of Richmond. EPA is also monitoring air near New Paris, Ohio. Mobile air monitoring locations were chosen based on wind direction. Yesterday, wind direction was coming from the southwest traveling north/northeast. Cooler temperatures and a cooler fire overnight caused more ground level smoke. Wind direction also changed overnight traveling north/northwest. Air monitoring at ground level continues to detect particulate matter, as expected from a fire.
The city of Richmond and IDEM are in the lead for managing water runoff from the scene. The city is collecting surface water samples at the Middle Fork East Fork Whitewater River and will share results with EPA.
EPA is waiting for debris sample results to determine whether asbestos-containing materials may have left the site. EPA reminds residents to leave any debris alone and not touch it until EPA sample results are back. Do not mow over the debris. Once officials determine the nature of debris, new information will be shared as soon as it’s available."
A press conference has been scheduled for 2 p.m. today to update citizens on testing results and provide the latest information about the evacuation and shelter in place orders.
WRTV will carry the video live on Facebook, Youtube, wrtv.com and the WRTV mobile app.
Wednesday, April 12
9 p.m. EPA Update
"The fire continues to burn, and the half mile evacuation order is still in effect. EPA continues to conduct 24-hour air monitoring and sampling in the community. At this time, Ohio EPA has requested EPA support for particulate air monitoring in Ohio.
EPA is collecting debris samples from the fire. Initial sample results should be available tomorrow morning. EPA is evaluating school grounds for any potential fire debris. If debris is found will sample for asbestos. Asbestos-containing materials may be present due to the age of the building. EPA reminds residents to leave any debris alone and not touch it until EPA sample results are back. Do not mow over the debris. Once officials determine the nature of debris, new information will be shared."
Richmond Community Schools will be closed on Thursday, April 13, 2023. There will be no e-learning and everyone is encouraged to follow the shelter in place order. Faculty and staff will not be required to work from home and are not permitted in the school buildings.
IUE Alert: Classes will be virtual on 4/13 with campus remaining at limited operations due to the nearby fire. Students check Canvas/your email for info.
The EPA also issued the following update:
EPA’s air monitoring has detected particulate matter, as expected during a fire. The agency is also monitoring the air for products of combustion expected from a plastics fire including:
EPA will continue 24-hour air monitoring at the response. Monitoring takes place at the ground level. During the fire, smoke rises with the heat. Once the fire cools down, EPA anticipates seeing more smoke at ground level.
- carbon monoxide
- volatile organic compounds
- hydrogen cyanide
- mineral acids (H2SO4 and HCl)
EPA has also started air sampling at different locations in the community. Sample results are anticipated in the next days or weeks, depending on laboratory analysis.
The agency started collecting debris samples in the surrounding community to determine whether asbestos-containing materials may have left the site. Asbestos-containing materials may be present due to the age of the building. EPA reminds residents to leave any debris alone and not touch it until EPA sample results are back. Do not mow over the debris. Once officials determine the nature of debris, new information will be shared.
Five on-scene coordinators from EPA are on site to assist with the response at the request of the Richmond Fire Department and Indiana Department of Environmental Management. EPA continues to work closely with local and state responders that include: Richmond Fire Department, several local fire departments, Wayne County Emergency Management Agency, IDEM, Indiana State Fire Marshall, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Indiana State Police and Wayne County Health Department.
White House Update
"The President spoke by phone to Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb and offered his full support and any additional federal assistance needed to respond to the fire in Richmond. The EPA deployed federal personnel to the scene last night to assist state and local first responders with emergency response efforts, including air monitoring and debris sampling."
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11 a.m. AP Update
Authorities say an evacuation order is expected to remain in place through Wednesday around a large industrial fire in an Indiana city near the Ohio border where crews worked through the night to douse piles of burning plastics. Richmond fire chief Tim Brown says multiple fires continued burning Wednesday morning within about 14 acres of various types of plastics stored both inside and outside buildings at the former factory site in Richmond, 70 miles east of Indianapolis. Hundreds of people living within a half-mile of the site were told to leave. Jason Sewell, the on-scene coordinator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, says no toxic compounds have been detected in the air.
10 a.m. AP Update
People have been urged to evacuate if they live near a large industrial fire in Richmond, Indiana, near the Ohio border. The order went out Tuesday after a major fire at a site where plastics are stockpiled. Thick black smoke darkened the sky. Richmond Mayor Dave Snow described it as a “serious, large-scale fire” that apparently started in a tractor-trailer onsite and spread quickly. He said the fire was contained on three sides by early evening. No injuries were reported. The former factory site was used to store plastics and other materials for recycling or resale. The mayor says local officials had been concerned about possible fire hazards.
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