Update: Hoopeston Residents Impacted By Fire Return Home
Residents living on the northeast side of Hoopeston have been allowed to return to their homes as firefighters deal with a tire fire for a second day.
Federal EPA officials are in the city, monitoring air quality samples. But Hoopeston Police dispatcher Russell Rudd said the eight fire departments that are still on hand are now dealing mostly with smoldering rubber.
As many as 17 of them where on the scene on Wednesday as the smoke could be seen for miles, and some Hoopeston residents were forced to evacuate their homes through last night.
The fire at J&R Used Tire Service on East Maple Street broke out about 5:30 Wednesday morning. Rudd said Hoopeston’s fire department expects to remain on the scene through Friday.
Illinois’ Environmental Protection Agency wants to shut down the business while the conditions that led to a massive fire can be reviewed.
Agency spokesman Andrew Mason said the agency has asked the Illinois Attorney General to issue a court order to investigate the cause of fire, clean up the site, and determine just how safe the business is.
“We want to figure out what burned – what was consumed in the fire," he said. "And once we know that, we can have a better idea of what type – if any, if there are going to be any long-term impacts to the surrounding area. So us going to the AG to ask for a court order is kind of a process we have under state law to get this information.”
Because of shifting winds, residents on the city’s northeast side are advised to keep their windows closed and use air conditioning if available.
An Attorney General’s spokesman expects his office to respond to the EPA’s request by Friday.