Evacuation lifted: Residents near Fort Loudon Waste & Recycling fire return home, roads still closed

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Evacuations have been lifted for residents near Fort Loudon Waste & Recycling fire, some roads in the area still closed. 

RELATED: Neighbors near recycling facility fire react to hours of smoke, flames

RELATED: Dogs rescued from recycling plant evacuation zone

RELATED: Knox County Health Department says air quality affected by recycling plant fire

The Emerald Youth Foundation and the Salvation Army were providing shelter for those affected by the fire. 

“Neighbors if you are being affected by the North Knox fire you can come here. We are opening our air conditioned gym and providing water and dinner to those that need it tonight. Please bring a pillow and blanket,” the Salvation Army said in a Facebook post.

Knoxville Fire Department issued a precautionary (see video) mandatory evacuation Wednesday afternoon for nearby residents, with about 65 homes affected. As of Thursday afternoon, the evacuations were lifted but some residents near Morelia Ave. are still unable to drive because of road closures. 

“It’s good to be home, but in the same sense, all this smoke has shifted and it’s coming all over us,” said Mary Clifton, a neighbor in the area near the fire. 

Clifton said she stayed at a hotel overnight when she was evacuated, but was still anxious to be home. 

“That’s the scary moment… are you gonna come home to a home? We were all worried for eachother,” said Clifton. 

Evacuations lifted

The first round of evacuations began as strong suggestions, later growing on Wednesday to mandatory for some areas near the fire. 

KFD tweeting Wednesday evening, a few hours after the fire was contained but not out, that they extended the mandatory evacuation to include Kenyon St. to Atlantic Ave. back to Pershing St. which is approximately 13 blocks and just under 100 homes. 

“Evacuees should make their way to Emerald Youth foundation 1718 Central Ave. via their personal vehicles or police officers can assist,” KFD tweeted. 

“We Have a Red Cross representative going to Emerald youth to assess the situation we are also working with emergency management to assess the situation and determine what needs can be provided by the Red Cross,” said Sharon Hudson with the Red Cross.

Fire department officials said in the afternoon the fire was contained, but have said the fire could potentially burn for days.

“To protect your health, it’s important to remember that if you can see or smell smoke, move away from the area,” said Knox County Air Quality Director Lynne Liddington. “If you cannot move away from the smoke, shut your doors and windows and turn off your air conditioning units. If you are driving through the smoke, roll up your windows and turn your air conditioning to recirculate, so you are not drawing the smoke into the vehicle.”

Smoke can hurt your eyes, irritate your respiratory system, and worsen chronic heart and lung diseases. The effects of smoke range from eye and respiratory tract irritation to more serious disorders, including reduced lung function, bronchitis, exacerbation of asthma and heart failure, the health department said in a news release.

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