Smoke from tire fire isn't much different from cigarette smoke, says local doctor

By Philippe Djegal - email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - email

HAWKINS, TX (KLTV) - Many of the residents surrounding the fire were not worried so much about the blaze as they were about the thick black smoke covering the sky. Environmental officials say the smoke is harmful.

The EPA is keeping a close eye on the air quality around the scene of the fire.

"We looked at an area near the school at an area near the school at [FM] 14 and [Highway] 80, and on 80 at an oil change location," said Eric Delgado.

They say the air is safe.

"We've come up with nowhere near an actionable level where it would be harmful for somebody," said Delgado.

But 81-year-old Ressie White says the smoke did take a toll on her.

"And then when you're stinging your nose, you're inhaling it and you smelling stuff in the air," said White.

White lives about 200 yards away from the fire and she has heart problems. She says the smoke was seeping into her house, making her so sick, she had to go to her daughter's house in Tyler.

"I just know that it affects my breathing," said White. "It'll make you kind of get short of breath."

"Her nose was burning and stuff like that and I heard on the news that the fumes were toxic, and they were asking people to get out," said Dorothy Curry. "So I felt like she would be safer if I came over here and got her."

Health officials say young children and senior citizens are the ones who should be worried about the smoke the most. If you have a pre-existing condition the smoke could harm you.

"People who have pre-existing heart disease might experience some flare of their heart symptoms, or their heart condition as a result of being exposed to this type of smoke," said Dr. Jeffrey Levin.

Leven says tire smoke isn't much different from that of cigarette smoke.

"The tire fire is not unique," said Levin. "It's just that it yields a lot of those mutagenic agents at a lot higher quantity."

For now, health officials say if you are worried about the smoke, err on the side of caution, and keep your distance until the air clears up.

U.T. Health is reporting no cases of respiratory problems in relation to the fire. However, if you're near the smoke and are having troubling breathing go get help.

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