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EPA testing for asbestos following Indiana industrial fire

EPA testing for asbestos following Indiana industrial fire
Posted at 11:19 AM, Apr 13, 2023

The Environmental Protection Agency is concerned that there could be asbestos in the air following a massive fire at an Indiana recycling plant.

Approximately 2,000 people in Richmond have been evacuated from their homes due to the fire, which broke out on Tuesday.

The EPA stated that it has begun collecting debris samples in the surrounding community to determine whether asbestos could be a major concern for the area. The agency warns that it would not be uncommon to find asbestos-containing materials due to the age of the plant.

Richmond Mayor Dave Snow believes the owner of the plant is responsible for the fire because they had reportedly ignored requests to clean up the property.

SEE MORE: Indiana town remains under evacuation day after massive fire

The EPA said it's conducting 24-hour air monitoring at the site. 

Monitoring takes place at the ground level. During the fire, smoke rises with the heat," the EPA said in a statement. "Once the fire cools down, EPA anticipates seeing more smoke at ground level."

In addition to monitoring for asbestos, the EPA says it's on the lookout for "products of combustion" that are common in plastic fires. 

Products of combustion include carbon monoxide, hydrogen cyanide and mineral acids.

"EPA reminds residents to leave any debris alone and not touch it until EPA sample results are back," the agency stated.

No injuries at the site of the fire, which has spread to about 14 acres, have been reported.