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Shuttered factory catches fire, sparks evacuation

The EPA took over the site months ago to begin cleaning hazardous chemicals

The Associated Press

MISHAWAKA, Ind. — Hundreds of people in northern Indiana have been evacuated following a fire at a factory that left a chemical cloud in the air, a fire official said.

Mishawaka Battalion Chief Jim Cocquyt said no injuries were reported after the fire Friday evening at the old Baycote facility. He said the Environmental Protection Agency took over the factory months ago and was cleaning up hazardous chemicals.

“It is a major cleanup site for the feds,” Cocquyt told the South Bend Tribune.

About 35 people sought shelter at the fire station and an elementary school that the Red Cross was using as a shelter.

Joann Newgent, 63, went to the fire station after she was told to leave her home.

“I don’t know what to do,” she said late Friday. “I know that I have to work tomorrow.”

City fire officials didn’t immediately return a call from The Associated Press seeking comment. A police dispatcher said she had no new information about the situation.