By: Hannyah Alford
On an early Friday morning in the second week of February, an auto recycling plant caught fire in South Camden. A massive pile of auto parts was set ablaze, disbursing the toxic smell of smoke for miles throughout the city. Some residents concerned about the electrical smell turned to social media and called 911 to find answers.
Over 35 firefighters stationed in Camden and Gloucester came to battle the fire, but harsh weather conditions made it difficult for them to seize the fire. The cold temperatures that on Friday morning prevented smoke from leaving the ground and extreme winds made it harder to apply water to the fire. A few firefighters were treated for smoke inhalation on the scene.
It’s also not the first time emergency services have been called out to this site. Fire Departments have responded to numerous fires at this scrapyard over the past six months. The direct cause of the February 12th fire is still unknown and is currently under investigation. The EMR recycling company issued a statement about its plan to ensure the health and safety of local Camden residents. EMR offered food, clothing, and other resources to comfort residents during this time.
Local residents repeatedly express health and safety concerns due to the frequent problems that occur at the site. These include air pollution, loud noises, and debris. One resident reported feeling her home shake from the explosion of propane tanks. The fire continued to burn for more than eight hours. Residents that lived nearby were able to evacuate and find shelter in two nearby schools, Creative Arts Morgan Village Academy and HB Wilson. Students at neighboring schools were able to go home early.