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Scrap-metal blaze at recycling plant ‘under control,’ fire teams say

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Residents living near a large scrap-metal fire on the city’s west side had been asked Friday afternoon to “shelter in place” and turn off ventilation systems.

But by 10 p.m., the “shelter in place” order was lifted and the fire had been marked “under control.” Fire department operations were completed around 3:30 a.m. Saturday, the Wayne Township Fire Department says.

For much of the late afternoon and evening, smoke was billowing from a large pile of scrap metal at a recycling center on the city’s west side. The fire was reported about 2:46 p.m. Friday at the OmniSource Corp. metal-recycling plant at 2205 S. Holt Road. That’s just northeast of the I-70 interchange for the Sam Jones Expressway.

No injuries have been reported.

“The high winds we have today are driving the fire faster than we can put it out,” said Courtney Rice with the Wayne Township Fire Department.

High winds and low water pressure complicated firefighting efforts. Winds topped 46 mph about the time the fire was reported, said News 8 Chief Meteorologist Ashley Brown, and did diminish until after sunset.

The Marion County Public Health Department issued an advisory through the Wayne Township Fire Department shortly after 5 p.m. calling on “all persons living in a 2 mile area south/southeast of the fire to shelter in place, and turn off HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) systems in all structures due the large amount of smoke.”

“We seen the smoke and we smelled it,” said Bob Wallace, who lives about a mile south of the fire. “It looked hazy, but I couldn’t figure out where it was coming from.”

“Hope they get it out pretty soon,” Wallace said Friday afternoon. “It could have been a lot worse.”

The health department also warned visibility on some nearby surface streets in the area was almost zero. People were asked to avoid Raymond Street south of the plant until the fire was under control.

The fire is believed to be accidental, News 8 multimedia reporter Dan Klein reported in a Facebook Live.

“A little bit of oil leftover on metal, that oil catches on fire, paint on fire, then everything burns just like it is now,” Rice said.

Smoke was visible from the nearby interchange of I-70 and I-465.

Wayne Township Fire Department shared images of the blaze on its Facebook page.

On the night of Jan. 10, 2015, the scrap-metal shredder building had a large fire at the Omni Source facility. Extremely cold weather hindered firefighters at the blaze.