DURANT, OK - Bryan County Emergency officials have been inundated with calls from concerned residents about the possible environmental hazards caused by a metal scrap plant fire in southeast Durant. So today, health and emergency officials held a press conference to try and quell some of those fears.
The smoke billowing out of the metal shredding plant in southeast durant is raising concerns about air quality. Officials think a lightning bolt started the fire last week and it's rekindled because of high winds.
"It's rubber. It's foam," said Nicolas Brescia, Environmental Protection Agency. "It's the different components of old cars that they shred up."
And it smells... bad, but the Environmental Protection Agency says they have not found any harmful material in the air around the plant."
"What we're doing is we're going out a quarter mile, half mile, one mile outside of the facility kind of following the plume and areas that a within the plumb area doing some real-time air monitoring," Brescia said. "And, at this time we have not found anything significant."
Since water doesn't work very well at extinguishing the rubbery scrap material crews are having to find other ways to fight this fire. And they say it could take days.
"We're waiting on chemicals to arrive that we can extinguish it with so that should be we hope within two days or so," said James Dalton, Bryan County Emergency Management Director.
Over the next several days residents can expect to see different colored plumes of smoke coming from the plant as crews systematically put out the fire. Officials say evacuations are a possibility, but at this point, residents are safe and in good hands.
"We want you to know that public health is our utmost concern," said Jeremie Fisher, Oklahoma Health Department. "We're working closely with DEQ and EPA with the air monitoring situation and there's nothing at all that's showing us that it's a public health threat."
Residents who still have concerns about the fires effects on air quality are asked to call the Oklahoma City Department of Environmental Quality at 1-800-522-0206.