Indiana News

Toxic smoke filling air as crews battle massive fire at bubble wrap facility in Newton Co.

Photo of fire at Newton County bubble wrap facility. (Provided Photo/Wabash Township Fire via WLFI)

KENTLAND, Ind. (WLFI) — A massive fire at a packaging facility in Kentland has a toxic smoke filling the air. People living nearby are asked to keep windows shut and stay clear.

Firefighters have been working to put the flames out since Tuesday night.

Crews were called to the International Cushioning Company caught fire about 8:30 p.m. CT Tuesday. That’s located near the corner of U.S. 24 and U.S. 52. The company makes packing peanuts and bubble wrap, which are highly flammable. The building is a total loss. The company has only been in the building for about a year.

Kentland Fire Chief Matt Wittenborn said 15 employees were inside at the time of the fire but they all made it out safely, and no injuries have been reported.

The smoke is very thick and is toxic. 

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U.S. 24 is shut down between the towns of Kentland and Goodland, about a seven-mile stretch.

Chief Wittenborn said when crews got here at 8:30, the fire was fairly small, However, with how flammable all the materials are inside, the flames spread almost immediately.

This building is over 44,000-square feet. It’s one of two buildings the packing company operates out of. The second building is about 50 feet away from the building that is on fire. Fire officials said they do not expect the second building to catch fire.

There are dozens of fire trucks and firefighters on the scene. Chief Wittenborn said the water supply here was getting depleted so they had to call in for back up. He said they made that call almost immediately when they realized how quickly the flames were spreading.

There are crews on the scene from Tippecanoe, Newton, White, Cass and Warren Counties.

Fire crews are expected to continue battling the flames for the rest of the morning. Chief Wittenborn said they could potentially be out here until the afternoon.

Crews don’t know what caused the fire.