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Bob Carroll
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Fire At Hazardous Waste Storage Site Left To Burn Itself Out

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It may seem reasonable to collect hazardous materials or wastes in one location – until the location experiences a major fire. That is exactly what the New York Times reports is happening in North Carolina. And, 17,000 people have been moved out of harm’s way.

Blaze in North Carolina Prompts Huge Evacuation

A fire at a chemical storage plant in Apex, N.C., a suburb of Raleigh, produced a plume of toxic fumes that forced the evacuation of some 17,000 people from their homes in the middle of the night.

Mark Haraway, the town’s fire chief, said the evacuation order will not be lifted until the fire has either been extinguished or burned itself out.

The fire broke out at about 10 p.m. Eastern time Thursday at EQ North Carolina, a facility that stores hazardous wastes in preparation for disposal elsewhere. Firefighters hesitated to approach the blaze because they could not be sure just what was burning, or exactly what emissions the fire was generating. Instead, they concentrated on getting people out of harm’s way.

The plant was known to contain pesticides and chemicals incorporating chlorine, a toxic substance that was used in early poison-gas weapons in World War I. Thirteen police officers and one firefighter were taken to a hospital and treated for respiratory distress after they inhaled fumes from the fire; all were later released.

It may seem reasonable to collect hazardous materials or wastes in one location – until the location experiences a major fire. That is exactly what the New York Times reports is happening in North Carolina. And, 17,000 people have been moved out of harm’s way.

Blaze in North Carolina Prompts Huge Evacuation

A fire at a chemical storage plant in Apex, N.C., a suburb of Raleigh, produced a plume of toxic fumes that forced the evacuation of some 17,000 people from their homes in the middle of the night.

Mark Haraway, the town’s fire chief, said the evacuation order will not be lifted until the fire has either been extinguished or burned itself out.

The fire broke out at about 10 p.m. Eastern time Thursday at EQ North Carolina, a facility that stores hazardous wastes in preparation for disposal elsewhere. Firefighters hesitated to approach the blaze because they could not be sure just what was burning, or exactly what emissions the fire was generating. Instead, they concentrated on getting people out of harm’s way.

The plant was known to contain pesticides and chemicals incorporating chlorine, a toxic substance that was used in early poison-gas weapons in World War I. Thirteen police officers and one firefighter were taken to a hospital and treated for respiratory distress after they inhaled fumes from the fire; all were later released.