Free cleaning kits offered to Portland residents impacted by tox - KPTV - FOX 12

Free cleaning kits offered to Portland residents impacted by toxic fire

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The American Red Cross Tuesday afternoon handed out cleaning kits to Portland residents affected by the massive scrapyard fire that sent dangerous and toxic chemicals spewing into the air. 

Health and emergency workers are urging residents to clean ash and soot from their homes and belongings.

The cleaning kits were distributed at the Baltazar Ortiz Community Center, and will be available for pick up there from 1 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, as well as at the Red Cross shelter set up at 1415 SE 122nd Ave. 
Ana Mendoza picked up some supplies to tackle the soot at her apartment. 

“I’m going to start throwing away all my food that is just left open,” Mendoza said. “I’m just trying to do what they’re recommending.”

According to Multnomah County officials, affected residents should wear gloves and wipe down the surfaces in their homes with a damp cloth.

You should also clean your children’s toys, throw away food that was left out, and open windows and doors for ventilation. More tips can be found here

Mendoza was evacuated from her apartment late Monday night, but said she was unable to get a ride to a shelter, despite free ride offers from the county. 

“I did not make it to the shelter because they took about three hours to try to pick us up,” Mendoza said. 

She said she eventually got a ride from a relative.

Now back in her home, she’s trying to get everything clean so she can finally relax and return to a since of normalcy. 

“I’m trying to keep a positive attitude, I know I should be grateful because my house is not burned,” Mendoza said. “I have a place to live.”

When it comes to yards and gardens, fortunately it’s not crop season yet.

Experts said residents affected by the fire should avoid overhead watering outside right now, and instead water plants close to the soil.

The Oregon Health Authority said it’s not yet known how the particles from the fire might be affecting soil and gardens.

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