Health Officials Checking For Toxic Pollution After Southwest Philadelphia Junkyard Fire

Wakisha Bailey // CBS3

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Hazmat officials are monitoring air quality following a massive junkyard fire in Southwest Philadelphia. Philadelphia public health officials announced Wednesday afternoon they are testing the air samples for toxic pollution.

Philadelphia Fire Department Captain Derek Bowmer said just after 3 p.m. Tuesday, more than 75 Philadelphia firefighters battled an inferno at the Delaware Valley Recycling Center.

“Wood, tires, things like that, when they break down houses — looks that’s what’s in the piles,” Capt. Bowner described Tuesday night to the media.

After several hours, the raging fire became a slow burn until it was contained. However, the smoke continued to linger throughout nearby neighborhoods, forcing residents to shelter in place. On Wednesday morning, a haze could be seen in the city.

That dark, thick air that covered Interstate 95 and the Schuylkill Expressway was soot and debris from tires. Bowmer said gaining access to the center was not easy. Teams were forced to pump in water from the air and ground.

In the meantime, health officials said people with heart or lung issues, should avoid exerting themselves in areas with smoke and haze.

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