Richmond Fire Department continues to monitor the scene of last week’s plastics fire at a North West F Street complex.
Chief Tim Brown said Monday night that two people watch for smoke around the clock more than six days after the April 11 fire ignited at 358 N.W. F St., consuming 13.8 acres across the three-property plastics recycling and resale complex. They use the department’s grass rig that’s normally used on field fires to extinguish hot spots that threaten to spread fire. The grass rig has foam mixed with water to cover the smoldering areas.
With that, Mayor Dave Snow requested during Monday night’s Richmond Common Council meeting that residents stay away from the area.
“Today, we ask that people please not make their way to the site to see it,” Snow said. “Walking or driving to the site is still a hazard because of unstable structures and charred debris, so please let our firefighters continue their work and keep yourself safe by staying away from the location.”
The city continues to post fire-related information on its website, richmondindiana.gov, and the help phone number, 765-973-9300, continues to be answered. Snow said there were about 175 calls to the help line from 8 a.m. Sunday to 5 p.m. Monday, most asking questions about debris. About 100 requests have been made for the Environmental Protection Agency to remove debris.
Snow also said about 200 cleaning kits were distributed to residents returning to their homes after Wayne County Emergency Management Agency rescinded the evacuation order effective 4 p.m. Sunday. The kits are available at the Wayne County Health Department, 100 S. Fifth St.
“I also want to take this time to thank our fire department as well as surrounding departments that responded in such a timely manner getting this fire under control,” Snow said. “I thank our police department, city departments, county departments and supporting agencies all for helping us to secure this site and keep people safe and allow the fire department to do their work.”
Snow echoed the thanks that council member Gary Turner offered to begin Monday’s meeting.
“I’d like to thank the mayor, I’d like to thank city staff, first responders, public health workers as well as our partners from the county and state and federal agencies for their not only swift, but effective response to the fire that we are very familiar with,” Turner said. “I particularly want to call out our fire department for the extraordinary effort that they put forth and the amazing results that they produced by confining that fire to one location. We could have had a much larger disaster here to talk about tonight than we had. So thank you all for your wonderful effort.”