MADISON, Ill. – A warehouse that caught fire in Madison, Illinois Wednesday is still smoldering Thursday morning. One warehouse employee was injured in the fire and at least two buildings were destroyed.
The Madison County Emergency Management Agency issued a red alert at 11 a.m. Wednesday asking all residents within a one-mile radius of the building to shelter in place. That alert was lifted Thursday morning for those to the north of the warehouse in the Granite City area. The alert was lifted at 12 p.m. Thursday for those to the south and southwest of the warehouse in the Venice and Madison area.
The levels of particulate matter (PM) is safe enough for the shelter in place order to be lifted, but thick smoke from the fire may still have small amounts, Madison County EMA said.
“Exposure to high levels of particulate matter may cause health problems for sensitive individuals, particularly people who have pre-existing cardiovascular or lung problems, such as asthma, but also young children and the elderly,” officials said. “Therefore, sensitive individuals should take precautions to avoid areas where there is visible smoke.”
The office of emergency management is asking people in that zone to turn off their air conditioning and close windows. You can sign up for alerts about the situation from authorities here.
The five-alarm fire started at about 10:30 a.m. at Interco – – A Metaltronics Recycler. The roof of the building collapsed around noon. Cars parked outside the warehouse also caught fire. Around 200 first responders from agencies with eight Illinois and Missouri counties assisted with this emergency. It was put out by approximately 3:15 p.m.
There was a smoke plume coming from the site that FOX 2 meteorologists found reached at least 3,500 feet. They believe it could have reached 4,000 to 5,000 feet.
Retired Madison County Fire Chief Mike Foley said workers were inside the building when an explosion occurred.
One employee was hospitalized with burns and is in unknown condition. No first responders or firefighters were hurt while assisting with the fire. It is still unclear at this time how the fire started.
Madison, Illinois Mayor John Hamm says an emergency declaration has been made at the county and state levels over the fire.
Interco is located at 10 Fox Industrial Drive. Interco’s website says they are “a global recycling company,” and they provide “metals, computers, and electronics recycling services.” They say they specialize “in the placement of smelter-ready materials catering to commercial, industrial, dealer, and government organizations nationwide.” They also say they ship “nonferrous and electronics scrap worldwide.”
Officials told FOX 2, that the warehouse stores lithium batteries and hazardous materials. Magnesium was burning at the site which is possibly from the batteries. There were also propane tanks for forklifts inside. The building is made of old wood and brick.