Massive Industrial Fire Spews Toxic Smoke Into Sky, Thousands of Residents Evacuated


An industrial fire forced some residents of Richmond, Indiana, to evacuate their homes Tuesday to avoid exposure to “definitely toxic” smoke.

Richmond Mayor Dave Snow said the fire broke out in a building that once manufactured lawn mowers but has been used to store plastics and other materials for eventual recycling, WXIN reported.

Residents within a half mile of the facility were urged to evacuate to shelters at Bethesda Ministries or Oak Park Pentecostal Church that were being manned by Red Cross and other volunteers.

Doctor Delivers Bad News to Biden After He Takes Terrible Tumble at Air Force Graduation

The fire was expected to burn “for a few days,” Indiana State Fire Marshal Steve Jones said at the scene.

Richmond Fire Chief Tim Brown said the facility’s owner had previously been cited for the unsafe storage of plastics at the location.

Should residents sue the owner of the property where the fire happened?

“He has been warned several times,” Brown said. “I don’t know when exactly that was, but we were aware of the situation we were dealing with.”

“It is very frustrating for all of us,” he added. “The battalion chief on today was very frustrated when he pulled up because we knew it wasn’t a matter of if, it was a matter of when this was going to happen.”

He described the 175,000-square-foot facility as “massive” and “filled wall to wall” with “unknown types of plastics.”

Federal Investigator Speaks on Plane Crash That Killed Top Trump Donor's Family: 'Everything Is on the Table'

“The smoke is definitely toxic,” Jones, the fire marshal, told WXIN. “This fire is going to burn for a few days.”

Wayne County Emergency Management Agency told the outlet that about 2,000 people had evacuated the area by 9:00 Tuesday night.

Residents downwind of the fire but further than a half mile away from its source were urged to bring pets indoors and shelter in place.

WXIN reported no serious injuries from the fire, but Snow said fire departments from nearby communities had been called on for assistance. Representatives of the Environmental Protection Agency and Indiana Department of Environmental Management were also reportedly on the scene.

Truth and Accuracy

Submit a Correction →

We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

, , , , , ,
George Upper is the former Editor-in-Chief of The Western Journal and was a weekly co-host of "WJ Live," powered by The Western Journal. He is currently a contributing editor in the areas of faith, politics and culture. A former U.S. Army special operator, teacher and consultant, he is a lifetime member of the NRA and an active volunteer leader in his church. Born in Foxborough, Massachusetts, he has lived most of his life in central North Carolina.
George Upper, is the former editor-in-chief of The Western Journal and is now a contributing editor in the areas of faith, politics and culture. He currently serves as the connections pastor at Awestruck Church in Greensboro, North Carolina. He is a former U.S. Army special operator, teacher, manager and consultant. Born in Massachusetts, he graduated from Foxborough High School before joining the Army and spending most of the next three years at Fort Bragg. He holds bachelor's and master's degrees in English as well as a Master's in Business Administration, all from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He and his wife life only a short drive from his three children, their spouses and his grandchildren. He is a lifetime member of the NRA and in his spare time he shoots, reads a lot of Lawrence Block and John D. MacDonald, and watches Bruce Campbell movies. He is a fan of individual freedom, Tommy Bahama, fine-point G-2 pens and the Oxford comma.
Foxborough, Massachusetts
Beta Gamma Sigma
B.A., English, UNCG; M.A., English, UNCG; MBA, UNCG
North Carolina
Languages Spoken
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Business, Leadership and Management, Military, Politics