UPDATE: At approximately 8:45 p.m. Thursday the Richmond Fire Department completely extinguished the fire, Mayor Dave Snow tweeted.
However, RFD Fire Chief Tim Brown said the fire is “under control” rather than fully extinguished. RFD crews are currently checking for hotspots as of 9 p.m., Brown said, and citizens are still encouraged to remain under evacuation.
RICHMOND, Ind. — The large fire that broke out in Richmond on Tuesday at a recycling and resale warehouse continued to burn on Thursday as officials provided the latest update.
Richmond Fire Chief Tim Brown estimated that 90 percent of the fire had been extinguished as of 2:30 p.m. on Thursday. Fire crews continue to battle hot zones within the 13.8 acre property located at 358 NW F Street which includes six different buildings.
Brown said all six of the buildings were filled with plastic material from floor to ceiling and wall to wall.
“I would say 100 percent of that (material) was consumed,” Brown said.
Brown said firefighters using bulldozers and applying foam to combat the remaining hot zones. He hopes that 98-99 percent of the fire will be extinguished by sunset on Thursday. Once night falls, Brown will not permit his fire crews inside the burned buildings due to visibility risks.
The evacuation of all citizens who live within a half mile of the fire remains in effect as does the shelter in place order for the rest of Richmond’s citizens.
A shelter has been set up for those needing a temporary place to stay at Oak Park Pentecostal Church located at 1920 Chester Blvd, Richmond. The Red Cross is staffing the shelter and providing meals to displaced residents.
The City of Richmond has also established a community helpline for local residents: (765) 973-9300.
Displaced residents who need to return to their homes to obtain critical items such as medication can call (765) 973-9399 and request an escort.
The Wayne County Health Department is also providing free N95 masks and is working on providing clean-up kits for homes.
All Richmond Community Schools will continue to be closed on Friday.
A representative from the EPA said that asbestos was found in debris from the fire that has fallen onto property as far as across the Ohio line. Anyone who has debris on their property is asked not to touch it and not to mow their yard. Mowing the debris will break it down further and send it into the air, said Jason Sewell with the EPA.
The EPA has a website dedicated to the Richmond fire and can be found here.
Testing continues on air and water samples. At this time, Sewell said items found in tests aren’t out of the ordinary for smoke samples.
A more detailed 24-hour sample has been collected near the hospital that will reveal more about potential chemicals citizens may have been exposed to. The result of that analysis is expected on Friday.
John Duke, deputy director of Wayne County EMA, commended the firefighters for their “heroic, heroic stop” and for preventing the fire from spreading beyond the business’s property.
City officials continued to pin blame for the fire on the owner of My Way Trading, the city previously ordering the clean-up of the property.
Officials said the owner had been attempting to sell off the plastic material to overseas buyers but the process slowed down after the pandemic hurt the market.
“The business owner is responsible for this mess, responsible for the disaster and responsible for putting everyone in danger,” Mayor Dave Snow previously said.
Watch Thursday’s update in its entirity in the attached video.