While train derailments cause massive toxic spills and threaten clean air and water in the mid-west, in Florida another chemical accident is causing severe concern for citizens and government officials. In Miami-Dade County, a renewable energy plant in Doral caught fire and is in a continuing burning state. The county-owned plant incinerates garbage to produce energy. A little after 2pm on Sunday the fire reportedly began, quickly spreading to four other buildings and continuing to burn days later. Over 100 firefighters have been battling the blaze.
The location handles about 40 percent of garbage from throughout Miami-Dade County and officials have said the fire will not impact trash collection for county residents. The site, which burns more than 800,000 tons of garbage every year, turned 40 in 2022 and was due for a replacement, officials said during a news conference on Thursday.
Speaking during the news conference, Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said the fire at the Covanta Energy plant, located at 6990 NW 97th Ave., was still burning in two structures at the site and there has been no substantial change in its status. “We realize this is a concern and an inconvenience,” she said. “We are wanting to extinguish this fire as quickly as possible, CBS NEWS reported”
Officials have said previously that four of 11 buildings at the Covanta site have been burned by the flames with two of them still on fire as of Thursday. Those same officials have urged residents to stay indoors and wear masks if they have respiratory issues but they have not said the smoke is toxic.
During the news conference Thursday, fire officials said 100 firefighters remained on scene, conducting four near-simultaneous operations of working to extinguish the fire, demolishing part of the structures that were damaged during the blaze, moving trash from a northern part of the site to prevent it from catching fire, and investigating the origins of the blaze.
Although statements as to the air quality have not been publicly made, Levine Cava said officials from the EPA are at the scene and are monitoring air quality. She urged people who are experiencing respiratory issues to “take additional precautions” while outside, CBS News quoted.
Slay News reported on the grass roots effects of the continuing blaze:
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued a “shelter in place” warning as emergency services battle a major fire at a Florida industrial energy plant. The warning was issued Friday as the blaze continues to burn at a renewable energy plant in Doral. Parks and schools have been ordered closed in the area after the EPA declared the air quality “unhealthy.” Firefighters have been battling the fire a the Covanta waste-to-energy (WTE) facility since last Sunday.
According to NBC 6 South Florida, “Parks were closing, schools were impacted and residents near the Miami-Dade County waste-to-energy facility in Doral were urged to stay indoors Friday, after a report from the Environmental Protection Agency showed the air quality in the area at ‘unhealthy’ levels earlier this week,” and from an official, “As the firefighters gain greater access to the remaining blaze, we do anticipate an increase in smoky conditions,” Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said. The outlet reports that crews are working non-stop to battle the fire.
Local authorities are also recommending citizens in the area wear masks if they do have to go outside. People are also urged to roll up their windows if they’re driving near the blaze.
Slay News commented, “After the federal government’s poor handling of the toxic train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, should Doral locals trust the EPA telling them it’s fine to stay in the area as long as they wear a mask and keep their vehicle windows up?”
The train derailment of a Norfolk Southern train in Ohio that has resulted in massive contamination to air and water in the area from chemicals vinyl chloride, butyl acrylate, ethylhexyl, and ethelene glycol monobutyl has been joined by another train incident in Michigan. A second Norfolk Southern incident on Thursday involved 30 cars but reportedly, “Nothing is leaking,” government officials stated. “There is no environmental concern at the site.” they stated.
In Ohio, fallout from the derailment includes a “control burn” to “release” the chemicals and although there is a one-mile evacuation zone, many far beyond that sone have had to evacuate and are suffering symptoms,” The New Republic reports. There have been reports of suffering of people and many animals near the site. “I am concerned that the area has been deemed safe so quickly without extensive data to show the risk has been reduced,” said Dr. Michael Koehler, member of the American Chemical Society’s Committee on Chemical Safety.
In 2019 two chemical fires plagued Texas, while last month Reuters reported that a chemical plant in northern Illinois near Chicago went up in flames, prompting emergency crews to advise locals to shelter in place. An explosion was said to cause the blaze that saw multiple structures on the grounds damaged or destroyed. At that calamity, a green colored oxidizer was released in the area, which residents were warned not to touch.