RUTHERFORD CO., NC (WSPA) – Residents within half a mile of a Mooresboro recycling facility that caught fire were evacuated early Monday morning, according to Rutherford County officials.
Numerous fire crews responded Sunday to the blaze at American Zinc Recycling Corp.
The zinc recycling facility is located off Highway 221 just north of Chesnee.
Firefighters had contained the blaze to an area of the facility that did not require evacuations, according to Rutherford County Emergency Management.
Officials said the sheriff’s office conducted door-to-door evacuations.
Approximately 48 residents who live within a half-mile radius of the plant were evacuated because of concerns over sulfuric acid in the air.
American Zinc Recycling Corp. says it is assisting evacuees with accommodations.
Anyone in the area that has been displaced by the evacuation is asked to call 828-287-6074 for sheltering needs, according to Rutherford County Emergency Management.
A temporary emergency shelter was opened at Chase Middle School at 840 Chase High Road for those in the impacted area.
Chase Middle School Principal Jason Byrd said no residents came to the shelter, which opened early Monday morning. School officials decided to move the shelter to the auxiliary gym at Chase High School, as to not disrupt the school day, Byrd said.
Byrd said school buses were rerouted outside the evacuation area.
No injuries were reported.
On Monday, the fire was reported to be put out, but the evacuation order was still in effect until the Environmental Protection Agency completes their air and water testing.
Rutherford County Sheriff Chris Francis told us Monday afternoon that the half-mile evacuation ordered by emergency management will remain in effect until Tuesday morning. Officials will then decide if it’s safe for people to return to their homes.
We’re told firefighters were also pulled back from the fire because of air quality concerns.
“The majority of our first responders are volunteers, so while I’m running from the fire they are running towards the fire and I’m very thankful for them,” Pastor Robert Carnell, with Floyd’s Creek Baptist Church, said. “I’m thankful for what they do.”
The cause of the fire is unclear at this time.
Numerous fire departments from Rutherford, Spartanburg, Cherokee, and Polk counties responded to the blaze.
According to American Zinc Recycling’s website, the Mooresboro facility removes and refines metals to make “special high-grade (SHG) zinc and continuous-galvanizing grade (CGG).”