Shelter in Place after IN Plastics Firm Fire

Tuesday, August 21, 2018 @ 04:08 PM gHale

Smoke seen from a fire at R&A Plastics. This was the second fire it four years at the facility.

For the second time in four years, Frankfort, IN, firefighters battled a fire at R&A Plastics.

The first engine arrived Thursday at 4:09 p.m. and reported heavy fire, said Frankfort Fire Chief John Kirby. All units arrived and began fire suppression tactics. Battalion 1 called for second alarm and called in six personnel to man the city. A third alarm was struck when four personnel reported to the scene to assist with fire suppression. Four more personnel were then called in to cover the city. OIC called for ladder 1 to assist in the fire.

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The biggest concern with the fire was the hazardous chemicals in the back part of the building since it burned four years ago.

Large plumes of thick black smoke intermingled with dark and light gray smoke filled the air as it drifted toward the northeast. The winds forced fire officials to issue a “Shelter in Place” warning in northwestern Frankfort. That warning lasted about an hour.

Firefighters battled the blaze for about two hours. All traffic was blocked for a mile in any direction.

Kirby said no injuries were reported, but several firefighters did suffer heat exhaustion. Kirby added IDEM has been notified and will be on the scene Friday morning to assure everything is safe. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

The original fire at R&A Plastics, a recycling facility, was in April 2014. Initial estimated damages put the inventory at a $100,000 loss, with approximately $25,000 damage done to the building. Two-and-a-half acres of plastic burned during the fire, which was spurred on by very windy conditions. That building had remained vacant and city officials were working to get the site cleaned up.

Earlier this month Frankfort Building Inspector Sam Payne was asked the status of the building and the hazardous materials in back. He said they were waiting on results from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) to see if those materials could be removed from that area. Payne said nothing could be removed until IDEM gave the thumbs up.

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