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Hotline offers help, answers during Richmond fire emergency

RICHMOND, Ind. (WISH) — The Wayne County Health Department has established a community helpline to provide answers and help as a large industrial fire continued to smolder and endanger Richmond.

The fire reported about 2:40 p.m. Tuesday at a business that formerly collected and packaged recyclables for reselling. Plastics stored inside and outside the former My Trading Way facility ignited after a semitrailer caught fire outside the facility. The cause of the fire could take weeks to determine, the city government says.

The blaze led to an evacuation of a 500-acre area in a half-mile radius from where thick black smoke had billowed into the sky.

The hotline is 765-973-9300. Wayne County Health Department is staffing the phones to answer questions and, if needed, provide referrals on any matters. The hotline will remain open 24 hours a day through the fire emergency, the department’s executive director told News 8.

Here are other phone numbers that the city government says are offering assistance:

  • Transportation: a city bus is available by calling 765-983-7580.
  • Shelter: Wayne County Emergency Management Agency, 765-983-7580.

As of noon Wednesday, the evacuation area remained at a half-mile radius from the incident site located at 358 N.W. F St. It affected residents within the area from Sheridan Street on the east, the 700 block of Indiana Avenue to the west, and Northwest L Street to the north, and Lincoln Street to the south.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is monitoring the smoke from the fire for these items: particulates, carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds, benzene, chlorine, hydrogen cyanide, and mineral acids including sulfuric acid and hydrochloric acid.

Federal and state officials as well as the Richmond Sanitary District have taken water samples, but no results had been shared by late Wednesday afternoon.

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