13 May 2016

Spain evacuates 9,000 from massive tire fire near Madrid

Four women walk with masks in front of billowing black smoke from a huge fire in Sesena, central Spain, Friday, May 13, 2016. A massive fire is raging at a sprawling tire dump in a town near Madrid, sending a spectacular cloud of thick black smoke into the air that's visible for at least 30 kilometers (20 miles). Ten teams of firefighters are trying to put out the blaze at the tire dump in the town of Sesena, still raging more than 10 hours after it started.
Spanish officials ordered 9,000 people evacuated Friday night from a large apartment complex after a raging fire at a sprawling tire dump sent spectacular, toxic clouds of black smoke into the sky.

About 8,000 apartment dwellers had already left their homes in Sesena, a central town near Madrid, as the thick smoke poured out from the fire that started before dawn, the regional government of Castilla-La Mancha announced.



It said ambulances were being sent to the complex to evacuate people with health problems who could not leave on their own.

The order was issued because weather conditions were expected to change overnight, raising the risk that the smoke could inundate the apartment complex even as firefighters reported progress in trying to bring the fire under control. The dump is less than 1 kilometer (.6 miles) from the complex.

About 70 percent of the tires had burned by Friday night but authorities did not know when the blaze would be completely extinguished, said Francisco Martinez, the regional government's environmental minister.

No injuries were reported because of the fire, which authorities believe was intentionally set. The smoke plume was visible from Madrid, more than 30 kilometers (20 miles) away. The sprawling tire dump is thought to be Europe's largest, Sesena Mayor Carlos Velazquez told the Cadena Ser radio station.

Two water-carrying helicopters doused the vast expanse of tires throughout the day.

Madrid firefighting inspector Luis Villarroel said firebreaks that were created helped restrict the blaze to one active front. By Friday afternoon, the smoke had lost much of its density.
Billowing black smoke rises from behind large housing blocks in Sesena, central Spain, Friday, May 13, 2016. A massive fire is raging at a sprawling tire dump in a town near Madrid, sending a spectacular cloud of thick black smoke into the air that's visible for at least 30 kilometers (20 miles). Ten teams of firefighters are trying to put out the blaze at the tire dump in the town of Sesena, still raging more than 10 hours after it started.


Classes at one school were canceled and authorities urged drivers to keep their windows closed. Two major highways pass close to Sesena and one was closed to traffic for three hours before being reopened.

Spain's leading El Pais newspaper reported that the dump holds 100,000 metric tons (110,000 tons) of used tires.

Known locally as the "tire cemetery," it was declared illegal in 2003 because it lacked proper permits. Authorities since then have been trying to figure out what to do about it.

(AP)    

A fire fighting helicopter flies billowing black smoke rising from behind large housing blocks in Sesena, central Spain, Friday, May 13, 2016. A massive fire is raging at a sprawling tire dump in a town near Madrid, sending a spectacular cloud of thick black smoke into the air that's visible for at least 30 kilometers (20 miles). Ten teams of firefighters are trying to put out the blaze at the tire dump in the town of Sesena, still raging more than 10 hours after it started.
A fire fighting helicopter flies billowing black smoke rising from behind large housing blocks in Sesena, central Spain, Friday, May 13, 2016. A massive fire is raging at a sprawling tire dump in a town near Madrid, sending a spectacular cloud of thick black smoke into the air that's visible for at least 30 kilometers (20 miles). Ten teams of firefighters are trying to put out the blaze at the tire dump in the town of Sesena, still raging more than 10 hours after it started.              
A man takes photos with a cell phone of billowing black smoke rising behind large housing blocks from a huge fire in Sesena, central Spain, Friday, May 13, 2016. A massive fire is raging at a sprawling tire dump in a town near Madrid, sending a spectacular cloud of thick black smoke into the air that's visible for at least 30 kilometers (20 miles). Ten teams of firefighters are trying to put out the blaze at the tire dump in the town of Sesena, still raging more than 10 hours after it started.
A man takes photos with a cell phone of billowing black smoke rising behind large housing blocks from a huge fire in Sesena, central Spain, Friday, May 13, 2016. A massive fire is raging at a sprawling tire dump in a town near Madrid, sending a spectacular cloud of thick black smoke into the air that's visible for at least 30 kilometers (20 miles). Ten teams of firefighters are trying to put out the blaze at the tire dump in the town of Sesena, still raging more than 10 hours after it started.                          
Men with masks talk in front of billowing black smoke from a huge fire in Sesena, central Spain, Friday, May 13, 2016. A massive fire is raging at a sprawling tire dump in a town near Madrid, sending a spectacular cloud of thick black smoke into the air that's visible for at least 30 kilometers (20 miles). Ten teams of firefighters are trying to put out the blaze at the tire dump in the town of Sesena, still raging more than 10 hours after it started.
Men with masks talk in front of billowing black smoke from a huge fire in Sesena, central Spain, Friday, May 13, 2016. A massive fire is raging at a sprawling tire dump in a town near Madrid, sending a spectacular cloud of thick black smoke into the air that's visible for at least 30 kilometers (20 miles). Ten teams of firefighters are trying to put out the blaze at the tire dump in the town of Sesena, still raging more than 10 hours after it started.              
Billowing black smoke rises from behind a Repsol tanker parked in a depot in Sesena, central Spain, Friday, May 13, 2016. A massive fire is raging at a sprawling tire dump in a town near Madrid, sending a spectacular cloud of thick black smoke into the air that's visible for at least 30 kilometers (20 miles). Ten teams of firefighters are trying to put out the blaze at the tire dump in the town of Sesena, still raging more than 10 hours after it started.
Billowing black smoke rises from behind a Repsol tanker parked in a depot in Sesena, central Spain, Friday, May 13, 2016. A massive fire is raging at a sprawling tire dump in a town near Madrid, sending a spectacular cloud of thick black smoke into the air that's visible for at least 30 kilometers (20 miles). Ten teams of firefighters are trying to put out the blaze at the tire dump in the town of Sesena, still raging more than 10 hours after it started.            
Four women walk with masks in front of billowing black smoke from a huge fire in Sesena, central Spain, Friday, May 13, 2016. A massive fire is raging at a sprawling tire dump in a town near Madrid, sending a spectacular cloud of thick black smoke into the air that's visible for at least 30 kilometers (20 miles). Ten teams of firefighters are trying to put out the blaze at the tire dump in the town of Sesena, still raging more than 10 hours after it started.
Four women walk with masks in front of billowing black smoke from a huge fire in Sesena, central Spain, Friday, May 13, 2016. A massive fire is raging at a sprawling tire dump in a town near Madrid, sending a spectacular cloud of thick black smoke into the air that's visible for at least 30 kilometers (20 miles). Ten teams of firefighters are trying to put out the blaze at the tire dump in the town of Sesena, still raging more than 10 hours after it started.                     
A man walks in front of billowing black smoke from a huge fire in Sesena, central Spain, Friday, May 13, 2016. A massive fire is raging at a sprawling tire dump in a town near Madrid, sending a spectacular cloud of thick black smoke into the air that's visible for at least 30 kilometers (20 miles). Ten teams of firefighters are trying to put out the blaze at the tire dump in the town of Sesena, still raging more than 10 hours after it started.
A man walks in front of billowing black smoke from a huge fire in Sesena, central Spain, Friday, May 13, 2016. A massive fire is raging at a sprawling tire dump in a town near Madrid, sending a spectacular cloud of thick black smoke into the air that's visible for at least 30 kilometers (20 miles). Ten teams of firefighters are trying to put out the blaze at the tire dump in the town of Sesena, still raging more than 10 hours after it started.                              
A fire fighting helicopter flies over billowing black smoke rising from behind large housing blocks in Sesena, central Spain, Friday, May 13, 2016. A massive fire is raging at a sprawling tire dump in a town near Madrid, sending a spectacular cloud of thick black smoke into the air that's visible for at least 30 kilometers (20 miles). Ten teams of firefighters are trying to put out the blaze at the tire dump in the town of Sesena, still raging more than 10 hours after it started.
A fire fighting helicopter flies over billowing black smoke rising from behind large housing blocks in Sesena, central Spain, Friday, May 13, 2016. A massive fire is raging at a sprawling tire dump in a town near Madrid, sending a spectacular cloud of thick black smoke into the air that's visible for at least 30 kilometers (20 miles). Ten teams of firefighters are trying to put out the blaze at the tire dump in the town of Sesena, still raging more than 10 hours after it started. 

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