In an initial statement, Richmond Mayor Dave Snow confirmed “a serious, large-scale fire” at the location of 358 NW F Street.
“Many units are on scene,” Snow said. “Please avoid this area if possible, as it is dangerous, and allow our first responders room to get this under control.”
Wayne County Emergency quickly issued an evacuation order for this within a half mile of the fire. Those outside that radius, meanwhile, were told to shelter in place—i.e. turn off HVAC units, close windows and doors, and keep pets indoors.
When reached for comment by Complex on Wednesday, the spokesperson for the Indiana State Fire Marshal said that investigators were on the scene of the fire and were working with other agencies to determine potential environmental risks, as well as the cause of the blaze. See the full statement below.
“The Indiana State Fire Marshal investigators are on scene to help explore the cause and origin of the fire. State and Federal environmental officials also are on scene to determine if any environmental concerns exist relative to the fire. Currently, the evacuation is in place as a precaution. Federal EPA is evaluating the smoke from the fire to determine if any additional action is required.”
Complex has also reached out to the Richmond Fire Department.
As of Tuesday evening, the evacuation order remained in place. The fire itself, meanwhile, had been confirmed to have been “contained on three sides.”
Speaking with regional outlet WTHR, Indiana State Fire Marshal Steve Jones noted the smoke from the fire was “definitely toxic.” Per the report, the location of the fire was a warehouse being used to store plastics and other recycling materials. At the time of this writing, it was widely reported that the blaze had started in a tractor trailer before spreading to the structure.
For now, there has been no official word on what caused the fire. An investigation remains in progress.