Plumes of thick black smoke have been rising from an industrial facility in Richmond, Indiana, where a fire broke out at a recycling plant around mid-day on April 11.

Given how plastics were among the materials that caught fire, authorities fear that the smoke poses a threat to people living in the vicinity of the plant. Indian State Fire Marshal Steve Jones said that the smoke was “definitely toxic” and there are fears that the fire could burn for days.

Though the fire department was able to contain the fire on three sides within a few hours, the East continued to prove to be challenging. Local authorities were thus forced to order the immediate evacuation of at least 2,000 people who live in the adjoining areas.

Mayor Dave Snow tweeted that buses were made available throughout the intervening night between April 11 and 12, to aid evacuation of people to shelters that were set up to accommodate them.

So far, the fire has been contained to the industrial facility and has not spread to residential neighborhoods. Many residents found charred debris from the fire in their backyards, but were advised by authorities to not touch it.

Richmond has a population of 35,000 and is located approximately 70 miles east of Indianapolis.

*Feature image courtesy Evan Kilgore via Twitter.