Hoopeston tire fire under control

Hoopeston tire fire under control

HOOPESTON — The sky above Hoopeston is much clearer today as the massive fire that started early Wednesday morning in a tire recycling facility is now a smoldering mass of burned rubber and other materials.

On the scene Thursday morning at J&R Used Tire Service Inc., 103 Maple St., Hoopeston Mayor Bill Crusinberry said the fire has been suppressed, but departments with ladder trucks continue to spray water on hot spots as excavators and other heavy equipment is used to pull out tires and sheets of the metal roof, which collapsed on top of the tires.

The heavy, black smoke that boiled up from the building on Wednesday is gone although officials with the federal and state environmental protection agencies are one the scene monitoring air quality, which is still one of the biggest concerns, according to the mayor.

He said 400 to 500 homes in a six to seven block area were evacuated Wednesday because of the thick black smoke, but it was up to the discretion of those residents if they wanted to return to their homes last night.

He said he assumes some did, while others stayed with friends or family and about six people stayed at the shelter set up by the Red Cross.

The more than 100 firefighters from departments in East Central Illinois and west central Indiana has been reduced to about 30 firefighters today.

Crusinberry said he and all the officials involved at the scene had a command meeting at 6 a.m. today, and they are optimistic that the white smoke that continues to drift from the site will be gone this afternoon, and Illinois 9 can be reopened.

Railroad traffic was stopped for 24 hours, he said, because of the heavy smoke affecting the CSX rail line immediately west of the building. Even some railroad ties caught fire.

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