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Monday, May 27
The Indiana Daily Student

Toxic smoke from Richmond fire forces thousands to evacuate, poses no threat to Bloomington

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Over 2,000 citizens within a half a mile radius of an industrial fire at 358 NW F St. in Richmond, Indiana, have been ordered to evacuate Tuesday afternoon, according to an alert from the Wayne County Emergency Management Agency. Those located outside of the half-mile radius and in the east/northeast direction are urged to shelter in place, turn the air conditioning off, lock all doors and windows and stay indoors. 

Related: [Bloomington fire displaces residents of apartment building]

Matthew Cain, director of WCEM, said in an email statement that Bloomington faces no threat from the fire. The smoke from the fire will continue to affect those to the north and northeast of Richmond, such as the IU East Campus. 

The city has opened Bethesda Ministries in Richmond as a temporary shelter for those who have been displaced. At the moment, the WCEM does not know when people can return to their homes. 

“At the time of this email, the Richmond Fire Department has made great progress in fighting the fire and because of this, the threat has been diminished, but the fire does continue to burn,” Cain said in the statement.  

Related: [Duplex damaged in fire caused by lightning near College Mall]

According to an update from the WCEM website, the cause of the fire is still under investigation and cannot be determined until after the fire is completely extinguished. The investigation will take several weeks. Health effects from the fire and smoke are still unknown; the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is sampling the debris to determine what has burned. 

Richmond Community Schools will remain closed through Thursday, April 13. 

The WCEM has set up a website for those wanting to get more information and updates on the situation. Citizens can also call the community helpline at 765-973-9300 if they have any questions or concerns. 

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