Chemical concern amid Ohio fire prompts evacuation

CANTON, Ohio (AP) — Authorities in the northeast Ohio say a roughly 20-block area of Canton was evacuated when a fire in a closed factory released potentially harmful sulfur dioxide.

Fire Battalion Chief Tom Garra says area residents were evacuated because air monitors detected sulfur dioxide at levels that weren’t life-threatening but posed health hazards. Those levels had dropped by midday Tuesday, when residents were cleared to return home.

Several schools near the area had canceled Tuesday classes.

The fire broke out Monday at a former packaging business, and responders trained to handle hazardous materials were called to the scene. Garra says white smoke released from the initial blaze indicated a possible chemical reaction or leak.

The site had been used by Convoy Containers. Its website indicates it went out of business in 2011.

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