Unhealthy air remains, NE Portland residents returning home afte - KPTV - FOX 12

Unhealthy air remains, NE Portland residents returning home after scrap yard fire

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, Officials issued warnings Tuesday morning about the dangerous health impacts of a massive salvage yard fire that sent smoke billowing into the sky for several hours Monday in northeast Portland.

The smell from the smoldering debris near Northeast 75th Avenue and Northeast Killingsworth Street was still strong Tuesday morning.

Fire crews battled a 5-alarm fire Monday, which burned cars, tires and homes. Flames began at NW Metals. 

A day later, public health toxicologists were warning that in general, gases and particles inside smoke can irritate people’s eyes and respiratory systems.

The bad air quality can also worsen chronic heart and lung diseases.

“It’s horrible. It’s hard to breathe, my chest hurts, my head hurts," Donna Miller, a nearby resident, said. "I’m starting to get a little concerned.”

Officials said the EPA was on scene all Monday night taking measurements of the air quality in the area.

Children, the elderly and people with heart and lung problems are all at a greater risk.

A Red Cross shelter remains open for anyone who needs it.

The evacuation zone shrunk Tuesday morning, so many residents who live around the fire site are able to return homes.

For those returning to their homes, officials encourages them to check how to properly clean parts of their residences affected by the fire. 

Multnomah County released cleaning tips

Fire investigators responded to the scrap yard just after 8 a.m. to remove debris and look into figuring out a cause to the fire. 

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