Richmond Toxic Fire: Two new toxins discovered at the fire site

RICHMOND — Richmond officials and other agencies provided an update Friday at the Wayne County Fairgrounds on the toxic fire at a plastics facility.

Mayor Dave Snow wanted to ensure those displaced by the fire that shelters were not full and that plenty were available, along with food resources.

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“The Red Cross is continuing assistance with food. They are providing meals and food supplies at regular intervals,” Snow said.

On Saturday afternoon, multiple agencies will meet to evaluate air and water samples to help determine when the evacuation order could be lifted. The Mayor said he could not give a timeline for liting that order.

Richmond Fire Chief Tim Brown says the fire was controlled just before 8:00 p.m. Thursday, but it does not mean it is out.

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“When we left the site right about 3:30, we did not have any visible smoke or have any visible fire, however we really sure that there are smoldering fires under the surface,” Chief Brown said.

Richmond Firefighters will remain on the scene throughout the weekend to monitor flare-ups. Chief Brown urged people to stay away from the site as there are unstable structures, potential flare-ups, and holes full of water that, if you are not careful, could step in one that is hip high.

Mayor Snow asked anyone with information about the fire or who has a doorbell, home, or business cameras to email the information to the Richmond Fire Department.

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Sanitation District crews have been monitoring water runoff, collecting escaped debris, and awaiting test results from organic and metals.

“To date no fish or wildlife kills have found,” Pat Smoker, Sanitation District, said.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said they are continuing to collect airborne reading from around the area.

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“Yesterday evening, with the weather inversion kind of holding ground smoke at the ground level and with the kind of cooling fires and the continuous moving, we detected some new contaminants right at the incident command post, which is again in the center of the evacuation zone. The two new contaminants we detected were hydrogen cyanide and benzene. We have not detected those before last night,” Jason Sewell from the EPA said.

Sewell said they are expecting more sample results to come back Saturday. The EPA has set up a headquarters in the center of Richmond to collect and analyze samples.

The Wayne County Health Department has also been working around the clock to continue collecting air and water samples to test.

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“I ask for continued patience as we get all of the necessary analytics together, and we are able to report back to the the public, the data and what those results are. We do have a like they said, there is a meeting tomorrow of the health partners and we will be going all over all of the air sampling that that’s coming in tomorrow and letting you know what exactly we’re seeing around that evacuation zone,” Christine Stinson Wayne County Health District said.

The Richmond Fire Department saved the surrounding business and a neighbor right next door from the fire.

Officials are still warning against people entering the evacuation zone to avoid exposure to any toxins in the air.

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