5 On Your Side found several people with health problems living within a few feet of the Interco Recycling Center fire.
Madison County, Illinois — Large fires like the one at a recycling plant in Madison on Wednesday can have health implications. 5 On Your Side found several people with health problems living within a few feet of the Interco Recycling Center fire.
Any fire could be a cause for concern, but this was a significant risk as the metal was burning all day long. Then there is the question of whether chemicals were used to extinguish the fire.
“I started smelling the air because the roof was on fire,” said neighbor Robert Tate.
“It was awful…it was boom, boom, boom, boom,” added Donna Fraser.
She and many of her neighbors are battling health problems.
“I have asthma. I have bronchitis. I have COPD,” she said.
“That’s exactly what comes to mind. What are the health implications of this event?” asked Jay Turner, a professor and researcher at the University of Washington.
He said there are concerns about metals in air pollution.
“They enter the lungs. They can travel through the bloodstream to other parts of the body and cause inflammation. It can lead to heart problems,” Turner said.
Frazier is also concerned about the potential presence of chemicals in the air.
“Are you looking tough on the water now?”
“I don’t know. Sometimes foam is used. From what I’ve heard, it’s just water at the moment,” Coppin replied Wednesday afternoon.
Late Wednesday night, Madison County Emergency Management officials confirmed they were not using foam to extinguish the fire.
“I can still smell the smoke. It’s inside the house, too,” said Frazier.
People living within a mile of the fire were told to take shelter, close windows and turn off air conditioning. This was an effort by first responders to ensure the safety of neighbors.