Residents urged to avoid park
Authorities don't know what started the fire.
YOUNGSTOWN -- A local health official said people with respiratory problems, the elderly and the very young should avoid an industrial park area along Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard where city firefighters worked about six hours Wednesday afternoon to control a fire.
Larry Himes of the Youngstown City Health District, administrator of the Mahoning Trumbull Air Pollution Control Agency, said while there are no immediate concerns about air quality, those groups should use caution in the area. The burning matter will be investigated to determine its rubber and plastic content, he said.
A pile of shredded metal byproduct burst into flames around 11:18 a.m., sending thick clouds of smoke billowing into the sky.
Crews in the industrial park began hosing it down. Once fire crews arrived, the street was closed to traffic as firefighters ran hoses across the roadway. The boulevard (U.S. Route 422) reopened at 3:45 p.m.
The piles contain shredded metal from automobiles. An Ohio EPA representative visited the fire scene.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
Fire Chief John O'Neill said investigators will consider whether it may have been ignited by the sparks of blowtorches used in the park. Some reports Wednesday attributed the fire to a discarded cigarette.
O'Neill said the scrap material is owned by Youngstown Iron and Metal, and crews from that company were to continue to hose down any remaining smoldering debris during the night.
Businesses in the area include Youngstown Iron & amp; Metal, North Star Steel Ohio, BOC Gases and the Ohio Central Railroad System.