By Sheryl Roadcap
TROY — The smell of the plastic that has been burning at a plastic storage facility in Richmond, Indiana since Tuesday afternoon, could be detected in the air in Troy Wednesday morning.
Early Wednesday morning, April 12, as a precaution “due to concerns over air quality,” Troy Christian Schools had decided to keep its students inside, but by late morning, had revised their plan for the day to allow students to go outside for recess.
Parents of Troy Christian students received an updated email around 11 a.m. on its air quality plan Wednesday, stating:
“We have checked with the Miami County Public Health Department regarding outdoor activities. They state that their monitors are indicating good air quality, and the have no advisories suggesting limiting outdoor activities. We will now permit students to have outdoor recesses. Track practice will be moved indoors for this afternoon, but all other activities will go on as normal. We will continue to monitor this situation and respond as needed.”
Miami County Health Commissioner Dennis R. Propes told Miami Valley Today Wednesday morning that at the current time they have received no data indicating the quality of air is unsafe. He noted that when large fires are blazing like the one in Richmond, it is not unusual to be able to smell the fire in the air.
“I don’t have any information I can share with you right now … because none of the data says don’t go outside. The air quality index is fine right now for what we are seeing,” Propes said. “I wouldn’t recommend not going outdoors or not doing anything that you would normally do right now.”
Propes said that could change at a later time if conditions change, such as perhaps the direction of the wind or if the fire gets bigger.
Members of the Miami County Health Department met with the Regional Air Pollution Control Authority, (RAPCA) out of Montgomery County, and the Ohio Environment Protection Agency Wednesday morning to monitor the air in the region. It was determined the air quality index appears to be fine as of Wednesday morning, Propes reiterated. The health department also plans to meet with the Ohio Health Department to assess the situation Wednesday afternoon.
As reported by Miami Valley News’ partner, WDTN-TV in Dayton, Richmond Fire Chief Tim Brown reported approximately 13 and a half of the 14 acres of the property at 358 NW F St. has burned. Brown said excavators would be used on Wednesday to get to the challenging areas covered in debris that are still burning.
The Wayne County Emergency Management Agency ordered residents within half a mile of the property to evacuate their homes as a large plume of smoke could be seen across the area, WDTN-TV said its sister station WXIN, reported.
The plume was so massive, WDTN-TV Meteorologist Jamie Jarosik said it was showing up on the weather radar similar to a raincloud.
As of 9 p.m. on Tuesday, it was reported that more than 2,000 people had been evacuated from the area.