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Precautions Urged Against Noxious Fumes

October 21, 1986

SOMERSET, Wis. (AP) _ With a fire burning for a fourth day Tuesday at 22-acre tire dump, nearby residents were warned to take precautions against noxious fumes.

Pockets of flames continued and a plume of smoke soared hundreds of feet in the air Tuesday, but southwesterly winds blew it away from Somerset, said Holly Kussinen, a spokeswoman for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

School officials cautioned parents Monday night to keep their children in the house when waiting for school buses if the plume turned toward town.

″Bus drivers have been asked to wait outside and honk the horn a couple of times so kids don’t have to wait outside and breathe the air,″ Ms. Kussinen said.

The fire chief of the village of 850 people and a spokesman for the federal Environmental Protection Agency spoke with parents at the meeting and distributed a fact sheet on the fire’s effects, said Roger Myren, a Somerset schools spokesman.

″There didn’t seem to be anything alarming,″ he said, adding the two told the meeting, ‴If your eyes water or you can smell it, close up the school house or get out of the way.‴

Authorities had no suspects in the fire, which they believe was set early Saturday, said St. Croix County Sheriff LuVerne Burke.

″There was no lightning strike that night,″ said Burke. ″It’s out in an isolated area. It wouldn’t have been started by a lighted cigarette. Basically, why else?″

Authorities estimated there were between 1 million and 3 million tires at the dump near the Minnesota-Wisconsin border.

State natural resources specialists were awaiting analysis of air samples and samples of oil running off the site from melting tires, Ms. Kussinen said. There was no environmental damage immediately visible in the area around the fire site, Ms. Kussinen said. The Apple River flows about 300 yards from the site, but firefighters dug two containment ponds to catch runoff from the fire, she said.

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