Smoke From Fire Filling Neighborhoods - ABC5 News Des Moines, IA

Smoke From Fire Filling Neighborhoods

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Claire Powell

Health officials said to avoid being around the plume of smoke that is coming from the fire at a recycling warehouse in Des Moines. 

The fire began Friday night and continues to burn heavy, white smoke. 

The smoke can be smelled all across the metro especially in those communities that are close to the warehouse and SE 14th Street.

"Key on the health risk is to avoid those particular areas, that's really what we're focusing on the message we want to get out, we want to avoid any unnecessary exposure to those particular areas," Tom Stein with the Polk County Health Department.

Homes that are close to the fire can't escape the cloud that is covering their houses. They are being advised to use their air conditioning as a filter for the heavy smoke.

"it looked like a real low cloud over everything," said Colleen Whitney, who lives a few blocks from the warehouse.

"Elderly people and young people, young people with asthma might have a little more risk if they are exposed to the air for an extended period of time," said Stein.

With the smoke being so thick, it can cause conditions like asthma and respiratory issues to worsen. 

"There was just black all around the capital building and everything, but also the smoke started making my chest hurt," said Whitney.

"If you are in the thick of it, you're giving yourself a much higher risk which is the message we're trying to avoid," said Stein. 

As the firefighters start to calm the fire, less smoke has been visible, but the smell is still lingering. 

"It was better today, I had to get out, but the whole east side smells like fire," said Whitney.
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