Officials concerned fire may be releasing asbestosThe thick, black smoke pouring from a fire at an Indiana meat packing plant has firefighters concerned that asbestos dust might be released into the air.
The fire in Ft. Branch, Indiana, is raging into its fourth day, prompting Gibson County officials to declare an emergency, according to NBC affiliate, WFIE. The declaration allows federal agencies to assist in putting out the blaze. Homeland Security sent equipment to help firefighters tear down the walls, so that they could get to and put out the flames. The brick and concrete walls have been impeding the work of the firefighters.
"Fire Departments don't have any equipment to be able to get to the fire," Chief Pete Lewis of the Ft. Branch Union Township Fire Department, told the news source. "So, that's why we had to bring in the demolition equipment to be able to remove one side or the other or all of it to be able to get to the materials that are burning."
While the EPA has been testing the air and has yet to detect any hazardous materials, the threat of asbestos being released during a fire has been a cause for concern. If the substance becomes airborne, people in the area are at risk of inhaling the deadly fibers and developing malignant mesothelioma or asbestosis.
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