Blaze Breaks Out at ND Recycling Center

Monday, May 22, 2017 @ 03:05 PM gHale

Fire broke out late Thursday morning at a recycling center on the west side of Minot, ND, sending thick, black smoke billowing into the air.

Earth Recycling, owned by Arden Jesz, is on the west side of the U.S. Highway 83 West Bypass. Smoke could be seen throughout the city and there were reports of ash falling miles away.

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Minot Rural Fire Department along with firefighting units from area communities and Minot Air Force Base as well as other emergency crews responded to the blaze that started at 11:15 a.m. Thursday.

When the fire broke out, the wind kicked up and starting pushing the fire. When the fire started, the wind was about 13 mph with gusts to 20 mph, according to the National Weather Service.

Fire officials do not know yet what started the fire, said Rex Weltikol, chief of the Minot Rural Fire Department.

At that time, he said they needed to get a controlled fire before they begin investigating.

“We are doing air monitoring around here,” Weltikol said.

A news release issued late Thursday afternoon said officials were conducting tests and monitoring the air quality in the area around the bypass near the scene of the fire. At that time, monitoring found little or no change in air quality and the City of Minot Fire Department would continue to monitor the area. Officials said there was no need to evacuate any areas other than those directly around the fire.

Weltikol said there were no major explosions occurring at the site, although there were some smaller explosions caused by paint and some propane bottles releasing pressure.

As of the afternoon press conference, Weltikol said the State Health Department was on its way to Minot to make sure everything was going well. “As of now, everything is going as well as can be,” he said.

Weltikol said the recycling business site formerly was a block plant. He said the present site had paper, aluminum – all kinds of recycling material.

Initially, he said there was some danger to traffic. “So, we had to shut it all down,” he said.

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