RICHMOND, Ind. (WDTN) — Officials provided an update after a fire broke out at a plastic storage facility in Richmond on Tuesday.
Richmond Fire Chief Tim Brown reported that approximately 13 and a half of the 14 acres of the property at 358 NW F Street has burned. Brown said excavators would be used on Wednesday to get to the challenging areas covered in debris that are still burning.
According to our sister station WXIN, the Wayne County Emergency Management Agency ordered residents within half a mile of the property to evacuate their homes as a large plume of smoke could be seen across the area.
As of 9 p.m. on Tuesday, our sister station reported that more than 2,000 people had been evacuated from the area.
Wayne County Health Department Director Christine Stinson said for those outside of the evacuation zone and in Ohio, “If you’re seeing, smelling, eyes burning, experiencing any kind of difficulty in breathing, you need to evacuate that area, get out of that area.”
The plume was so massive, Meteorologist Jamie Jarosik said it was showing up on the weather radar similar to a raincloud.
WXIN reported the facility is a former lawn mower manufacturer that has been closed for years. The owner of the building where the fire broke out reportedly had previously received an “unsafe citation” about stacking plastic in the area.
Richmond Mayor Dave Snow reported that the owner of the building had ignored the citation, but the city has continued to go through steps to get the owner to clean up the property.
“We just wish the property owner and the business owner would’ve taken this more serious from day one,” Snow said. “This person has been negligent and irresponsible, and it’s led to putting a lot of people in danger.”
Snow said the city would have “formal communications” with the property owner, however, he emphasized that the safety of Richmond’s residents and first responders was the first priority.