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Blaze damages Tennessee recycling plant

By: Jim Johnson

December 19, 2013

Firefighters were still battling a blaze on Dec. 19 at a plastics recycling plant in rural Tennessee.

Concerns about toxins in black smoke from the fire at Industrial Plastic Co. Inc. in Lyles caused officials to initially evacuate a 4-mile radius around the business after the fire started the day before, according to Kim Skelton, secretary for Hickman County Mayor Steve Gregory. That included both nearby residents and students from four local schools.

After working more than a day on at the site, the fire was about 65 percent contained as of Thursday afternoon, Skelton reported.

“They are putting dirt on the fire, trying to smother it out that way,” she said.

Firefighters were using dirt instead of water as a way to contain contaminates from the fire and keep them out of nearby streams, Skelton said.

While more than half of the blaze was contained as of Thursday afternoon, fire continued to burn in two big steel buildings at the site located about 50 miles southwest of Nashville. Skelton said she was told that the steel structures would half to come down to allow firefighters access to those areas.

“The area is still evacuated. They are not sure when people will be able to come back home,” she said Thursday.

Local news reports showed billowing smoke rising from the fire and one television station reported the smoke could be seen from 20 miles away.

No cause has been determined, Skelton said.