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Evacuation order lifted after Richmond industrial fire

RICHMOND, Ind. (WISH) – The City of Richmond has lifted evacuation orders following air testing for hazards.

The half-mile evacuation order was lifted on Sunday, and the fire department remains on-site to manage the area and monitor for any potential flare-ups. For several days, the Environmental Protection Agency tested the air for particulates, carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds, and other harmful chemicals. It has been deemed safe for residents to return home. Residents have been advised not to touch asbestos-covered materials and to fill out an EPA clean-up form.

Dr. David Jerome of the Wayne County Health Department said that the fire site and surrounding areas had been tested for air quality, and the weather has also helped in cleansing the air of particulate matter.

“We’ve repeatedly been testing the air around the site. And all of the chemicals we tested for have been non-detectable except for three benzenes, naphthalene, and due to dying, which are in small levels.”

He also mentioned that Fire Chief Tim Brown reported that no particulate matter is coming out from the site, and there will be no detectable chemicals in the air. “I feel very confident that people will be safe when they move back to their homes.”

Mayor Dave Snow is encouraging residents and businesses to re-enter the evacuation zone. The county has provided cleaning kits for residents to use when they return home, and the health department is offering guidance on how to clean high-touch surfaces and air out homes filled with smoke.

For additional resources, a 24-hour helpline is available to call.