Fire official says smoke from warehouse fire likely toxic

AP News
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Posted: May 01, 2015 11:54 PM
Fire official says smoke from warehouse fire likely toxic

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio residents near a large commercial warehouse in Columbus that caught fire and sent thick black smoke billowing into the air were asked Friday evening to stay inside, shut their windows and doors and avoid breathing in the smoke or find temporary shelter elsewhere.

Columbus Fire Battalion Chief Tracy Smith said smoke from the fire at Columbus Pallet Recycling was likely toxic because recycled plastic and other chemicals were burning.

"It is toxic in nature," she said.

But officials weren't so concerned as to order residents to evacuate.

Smith said federal and state environmental officials were assessing the air quality, and winds had helped lift the plume and thin out the smoke by late Friday night.

No injuries were reported.

About 100 people were working at the business when the fire started around 4 p.m. Hours later, the blaze was about 80 percent contained and had not spread outside the property, Smith said. Firefighters will be working through the weekend, she said.

Some roads were closed, and thousands of nearby residents were without power.

Officials said one-third to one-half of the city's firefighters battled the blaze.

The cause of the fire was not yet known.