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Monday, April 15
The Indiana Daily Student

Richmond factory collapses after fire

Richmond Fire

RICHMOND, Ind. – Winds carried a cloud of possibly toxic smoke away from downtown Richmond as firefighters battled a blaze at a storage building that’s part of a plastics operation.\nThe fire at Primex Plastics was still burning at 10 p.m. Friday, hours after it started, but officials said it was under control. No injuries were reported and media reports said no one was in the building when the fire began at about 3 p.m.\nThe building collapsed at about 5:30 p.m. Television video showed the fire swallowing the multi-story building and leaping to another building across a railroad track.\nRichmond Fire Department Battalion Chief Jim Fessler said the smoke from the fire likely was toxic, but environmental concerns were diminished because the winds were carrying the plume aloft. The huge cloud of black smoke could be seen from 15 miles away.\n“I’m not sure what all chemicals are involved, but it is plastic, and that is toxic,” Fessler said.\nAuthorities did not order area evacuations, though people were evacuated from one nearby business as a precaution.\nFessler said fire officials were advising nearby residents to close up their homes to avoid breathing smoke. People with asthma or other respiratory problems were advised to leave the area until the fire was extinguished, he said.\nAn estimated 2,000 people stood along the streets watching the blaze.\nA recorded message at Primex said the second and third shifts at one of the company’s plants had been canceled due to the fire but that work was continuing at three of the company’s other plants.

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