KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Kansas City, Kansas, officials say a large fire at a recycling facility that began just before 5:30 a.m. is out just before 7:20 p.m. Friday.
Plumes of thick black smoke could be seen for miles around the Kansas City metro Friday as crews worked to extinguish the fire at Advantage Metals Recycling near S. 12th Street and Metropolitan.
Crews responded after a crane operator noticed the fire, but so far a cause hasn’t been given.
The KCK Fire Department was called to the business at about 5:30 a.m. About 12 hours later, the department said it is largely contained.
“We are optimistic that we can release some fire companies within the next few hours,” KCKFD spokesman Scott Schaunaman said. “However, we expect to stay on the scene to monitor safety and prevent rekindle of the fire.”
KCK has had dozens of fire crews on scene, and a Johnson County fire crews has also been assisting.
FOX4’s Tia Johnson said people at the scene said the area on fire is used for crushing vehicles. The center also handles appliance recycling, like refrigerators, washers, dryers, etc.
The fire department said no civilians have been injured, but one firefighter was taken to the hospital after suffering a minor eye injury.
Officials have not determined the extent or dollar amount of property damage at the recycling plant yet.
The Unified Government Public Health Department and the Johnson County Health Department are warning people to stay inside Friday if possible. The smoke may impact the air quality in some areas.
Johnson County health leaders said the warning for the northern part of their county was precautionary.
The Environmental Protection Agency is on scene to measure air quality.
The National Weather Service said the rain has also helped keep some of the smoke out of the air.
“Anybody who’s in that plume, I would advise them to stay inside. Keep their windows and keep their doors shut,” Schaunaman said.
“It’s very unlikely that something like this with short exposure is going to cause long-term effects, but people with asthma or respiratory issues — it could exacerbate that if they’re in the thick of it.”
While the fire department doesn’t think the smoke will cause long-term effects, it’s worrying for people who live and work nearby.
“I know a lot of people in the area with respiratory problems. I hope they don’t inhale too much without knowing what the smoke is from. I’ve gotten no notifications about it. I hope no one inhales anything they shouldn’t be inhaling,” Alec Newill who lives nearby said.
“I’m a little concerned for members of the community who have respiratory problems, like what the chemicals can do to them,” Cesar Sanchez who works nearby said. “It’s big. It’s been going on all morning. You can see it from the highway.”
The fire proved to be a challenge because it’s located in a spot that’s difficult to get water to.
“I will tell you that water supply right now is one of our largest obstacles because as you can see behind you, we’re using one fire hydrant and that’s about 1,000 feet away. The second closest hydrant as well over a mile,” Schaunaman said.