Essex recycling plant fire reignites

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ESSEX, Conn. (WTNH) — Firefighters are back on the scene of a recycling plant fire that reignited Friday morning. The pile of debris that first caught fire Wednesday afternoon is still smoldering now.

The big difference is they’ve hauled it outside of the Calamari Recycling building. Since it’s just a big pile of debris, nobody really cares if the flames continue. The smoke, however, is a different matterOrigninal Story: Fire breaks out at Essex facility

That smoke has settled in over the town of Essex in a thin haze and unpleasant smell for two full days now. Alyssa Cohen first noticed it Thursday, one town away.

“Actually, I was down in Old Saybrook dropping off my daughter at daycare and I could just smell a hint of it,” Cohen said.Related Content: Fire continues to burn at Essex recycling facility

The fire started inside the Calamari building on Dump Road, just off Route 9, around 2:30 Wednesday afternoon. A massive effort and heavy equipment was needed to drag the burning piles of recycling debris outside and hose them down. Cold weather, wind, a lack of water, and icy roads combined to make it a tough 24 hours.

Then that new, outdoor pile of debris reignited early this morning, forcing exhausted fire crews back to the scene. They spread fire retardant foam on the pile, but it was impossible to get to the burning center of the pile, so it keeps burning, and that smoke keeps pouring out. It is starting to concern some people in town.

“I take care of elderly people, people that are hard of breathing and have allergies and asthma,” said Essex resident Andrea Lebrasseur. “My heart goes out to them, you know?”

State environmental officials advise anyone downwind of the smoke to stay inside as much as possible, with the windows closed. They are awaiting the results of water samples from two nearby streams to determine if the water in the immediate area has been contaminated. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

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