CARTHAGE, N.Y. (WWNY) - A firefighter is in the hospital tonight as emergency crews continue dealing with a chemical fire at an old paper mill between Carthage and West Carthage.
Carthage Fire Chief Brian Draper told 7 News an unknown liquid chemical is burning inside the old Island Paper Company on Tannery Island.
He said Jefferson County’s hazardous materials team and the state Department of Environmental Conservation’s spill response team are on the scene.
According to Draper, firefighters have had to hold off on battling the blaze until they know what type of chemical they’re dealing with.
“We’ve noticed in three hours the wind has been shifting in every direction and we’re asking for all people to shelter inside their homes in the two villages. We’re trying to figure out the exact chemical is that is burning and then we’ll go from there, and we’re also looking at possible evacuations,” said Draper.
Residents living within a 5-mile radius of the paper mill site are asked to avoid going outdoors and shelter in their homes with the windows shut to avoid breathing in fumes from the fire.
A portion of North Mechanic Street is closed.
West Carthage and Natural Bridge firefighters are also on the scene.
We were also told a crew from Syracuse was coming to identify the chemical. At last word it had not been identified yet.
How the hospitalized firefighter was injured is also unknown.
We’ll update this story as we learn more.