EPA officials say air is not harmful following chemical fire

MADISON TOWNSHIP, OH (FOX19) - A shelter-in-place that was ordered for northern Butler County following a massive chemical fire has been lifted.

Flames broke out at the Mar-Flex Company, located at 6866 Chrisman Lane in Madison Township, a little after 1 a.m. Tuesday morning.

Fire crews say putting water on the fire could spread toxins into the ground, so they are just letting it burn itself out. It could burn for several days.

The EPA has tested the air and smoke near the fire and found that it does not contain harmful chemicals. However, the EPA warns that smoke itself can be irritating to the lungs of some people.

Officials with the Butler County Emergency Management Agency were asking about 2,000 nearby residents to stay indoors so they would not breathe the fumes. That shelter-in-place was lifted at 11 a.m.

Emergency officials are urging residents who experience respiratory problems or eye irritants because of the smoke cloud to call 911. The chemical cloud from this fire is traveling in a northeast direction toward Warren and Montgomery counties.

"One of the volatile chemicals we were worried about was Xylene, which is the primary material in gasoline," said Farmer.

"We're dealing with a lot of different chemicals here and what's happening is we know what they do when they are individual chemicals, but when they mix together and when they are exposed to fire and heat they do different things," said Jeff Galloway, Butler County EMA director. "These type of fires are unique, especially with a building that has so many different chemicals in it."

EMA officials say schools in the area are not affected by the cloud. They are staying in contact with school officials.

The warehouse is about the size of a football field. Mar-Flex is a waterproofing and concrete building company that uses several chemicals in their products. A spokesman for the company, Robert Hoffman, said the building is a total loss and they are working with their customers to get them what they need.

No injuries have been reported. The cause of the fire is unknown.

FOX19.com will update this story as more information becomes available.

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