CANTON -- A fire in a former packaging plant is emitting sulfur dioxide into the air, causing the evacuation of area residents and the closing of five local schools (see below).
The fire began Monday afternoon in the 1800 block of 22nd Street N.E. near Maple Avenue. It continues to burn.
HAZMAT personnel report that the level of sulfur dioxide measured near the fire has gone done from 53 parts per million Monday night to 10 ppm, but the number fluctuates. The Environmental Protection Agency is on the scene.
The site had been used by Convoy Containers. Its website indicates it went out of business in 2011.
From the Canton School District's website:
Due to the chemical reaction and fire and subsequent evacuation and restricted access to portions of the NE side of the city, the following school closing/student and staff absence scenario is in effect for Tuesday September 17, 2013:
The following schools are closed: Belden Elementary, Gibbs Elementary, Belle Stone Elementary, Youtz Elementary and Altitude Academy @ Crenshaw School;
All students that reside in the evacuated and restricted travel areas are excused from school. For example, if a student resides in the evacuated area and attends Early College Academy @ Souers, the student's absence will be excused;
All employees who reside in the the evacuated and restricted areas should follow normal attendance/absence procedures;
All other Canton City School District's schools and office will remain open.