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Pueblo steel mill fire prompts pre-evac notices, triggers air quality concerns

Gazette - 4/6/2024

Apr. 5—A fire broke out Friday afternoon at the EVRAZ steel mill in Pueblo sending up a thick column of black smoke that was blowing north.

The fire triggered a shelter-in-place order and pre-evacuation order for homes near the expansive mill along Interstate 25 on the southern end of town. Pueblo County public health officials issued a public health alert Friday evening, recommending all Pueblo residents stay indoors and avoid outdoor activity through Sunday morning due to the amount of smoke in the air from the EVRAZ fire and the Vision Hills Fire.

The EVRAZ Fire broke out in a building primarily used for staging and storage and all employees evacuated safely, according to a statement from EVRAZ North America.

A Gazette reporter on the scene said fire trucks from nearby communities, such as La Junta, Rocky Ford and Manzanola, arrived Friday evening to fight the fire. The fire was still active at about 6 p.m. about two hours after the Pueblo Fire Department first posted about it at about 4 p.m. calling it an "industrial incident."

The fire fight was not visible to onlookers.

The city of Pueblo issued a its shelter-in-place order for the neighborhoods directly adjacent to the steel mill shortly before 6 p.m. over air quality concerns.

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"There are no immediate threats to homes or individuals at this time," a statement from the city said.

The shelter-in-place order effects residents north to Summit Avenue and Opal Street, east to San Juan Street, south to Canal Street and west to Stone Avenue. The city did not have a timeline for lifting the order.

Residents should go inside and close their windows and turn off any air conditioning, the city statement said.

Dark smoke from the fire is visible throughout Pueblo, the Sheriff's Office said on social media. A Gazette reporter could see smoke as far north as the Pikes Peak International Raceway.

A Gazette employee said flames from the fire could be seen from the corner of Spruce Street and Indiana Avenue about five blocks away.

The Pueblo Sheriff's Office pre-evacuation order issued shortly before 5 p.m. effected the 1000 to 1100 block of Palo Alto in Salt Creek neighborhood. A pre-evacuation orders means residents should be ready to leave.

A reception center was being set up at 1650 Cooper Place.


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