A massive industrial fire in Ghent, N.Y., sent plumes of smoke into the Bay State Thursday, prompting the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency to warn residents within 15 miles to remain indoors before conditions eased during the afternoon.
MEMA said in a statement that authorities were especially concerned for people in Southern Berkshire County, east and south of Alford and Great Barrington. Ghent is 10 miles from the Massachusetts border.
Several Massachusetts agencies, including the Department of Environmental Protection, Department of Public Health, and the state National Guard, were assessing the impact of the plume caused by an easterly wind and whether any hazardous materials had blown across the border.
By 5 p.m., firefighters in Ghent had put out most of the blaze, and MEMA said people were safe to go outdoors and open their windows, though they were still advised to limit outside activities pending results of air-quality tests Friday. Residents were also advised to keep farm animals sheltered in barns and stables pending test results.
A spokeswoman for the Massachusetts fire marshal, Jennifer Mieth, said her office had activated the state hazardous materials team to help with testing in Berkshire County.
The fire broke out at TCI of New York, a transformer recycling company, in the Hudson Valley town about 10:15 p.m. Wednesday. TCI’s website says it disposes of electrical equipment containing polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs.
Officials said Thursday that tests of soot from the fire showed no evidence of PCB contamination. Tests results for dioxin, a potential byproduct of the burning, were expected by Friday.
The investigation of the cause was continuing.
Two firefighters suffered unspecified injuries.