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Recycling plant fire contained after smoke from the incident prompted air quality concerns

EPA officials on site monitoring air quality
KCK Fire 1.jpeg
Posted at 7:37 AM, May 19, 2023

UPDATE, 6:45 p.m. - The Kansas City, Kansas Fire Department said the fire is contained and its crews are preparing to leave the Advantage Metal Recycling Center.

One firefighter was taken to a hospital after suffering a minor eye injury, according to a statement from the Unified Government of Wyandotte County/KCK.

No other injuries were reported.

The KCK Fire Department sent 7 pumpers, 3 trucks, 1 rescue apparatus and 5 support vehicles. More than 40 KCKFD personnel initially responded to the scene.

Due to the fire’s effects on air quality, the Unified Government Public Health Department (UGPHD) advises individuals in the area to stay indoors at this time if possible. The UGPHD’s Air Quality Program and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are monitoring local air quality and will alert community members of any further concerns, according to the news release.

UPDATE, 4 p.m. | The Kansas City, Kansas, Fire Department estimates about 80 percent of the fire has been extinguished. They're hopeful of continuing to return crews to service in the next couple of hours.

Air quality monitoring by the EPA remains on-going.

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UPDATE, 3 p.m. | The Johnson County Department of Health issued a statement Friday afternoon on the air quality concerns of the fire, describing the scene as "an active situation."

The agency was responsible for sending an alert earlier Friday to some Johnson County residents regarding an odor in the air. The message was targeted only to people believed to be in the impacted area.

"If you are bothered by the smell or are concerned or have underlying health issues, are elderly or have young children, consider staying indoors or shortening the length of outdoor activities and keep windows closed for the time being."

UPDATE, 12:45 p.m. | Fire crews are getting a better picture of the extent of Friday morning's fire.

A fire spokesperson says the pile of metal products was about 70 feet high, 150 feet long and 50 feet wide, and was made up of recycled metal, and various fluids found in recycled cars.

Crews will remain on scene through Friday night to monitor hot spots and using foam from crews at the Johnson County Consolidated Fire District No. 1.

KSHB 41 meteorologist Wes Peery says the rainy conditions have played a factor in the ongoing air quality around the fire.

UPDATE, 11:15 a.m. | A Kansas City, Kansas, Fire Department spokesperson says the bulk of the fire has been knocked down, though crews are still working to spread material around to help quell any hot spots.

The Environmental Protection Agency has dispatched a crew to the scene to provide air quality monitoring.

UPDATE, 10:55 a.m. | The Johnson County Department of Health and Environment has issued an alert to residents in the parts county that this fire is potentially impacting air quality in northern Johnson County.

The alert asks residents to remain indoors if they detect smoke.

KCK Fire Air Quality.jpeg

ORIGINAL REPORT | Firefighters in Kansas City, Kansas, were working to extinguish a fire Friday morning at an industrial facility.

Around 5 a.m. Friday, crews were dispatched to the facility located at 1153 S. 12th Street on a reported fire.

A Kansas City, Kansas, Fire Department spokesperson says a crane operator working Friday morning at the facility called 911 after spotting the fire.

No injuries have been reported at the facility, which recycles metal parts like cars and washing machines.

Combustible materials contained within those parts, items like tires and tanks, have contributed to the smoke and smell experienced some distance away from the fire itself.

While en route, KSHB 41 reporter Daniela Leon said that smoke from the fire could be seen from miles away.

This is a developing story and will be updated.