NORTHWOOD, Iowa – It’s been a little over 24 hours since residents were given the okay to make their way back into town.
Emergency services from all over the north Iowa area responded to the call and helped to contain the fire, but Bloomingdale says it’s what the community did that was most memorable.
“They went door to door evacuating people. Kensett opened up buildings for people to stay, Manly opened up buildings for people to stay. That type of reaction is just extraordinary,” said Bloomingdale.
As the town of Northwood back to normal many are taking the time to say on how they were asked to leave all their belongings and evacuate their homes to avoid a potential hazard.
While some are staying home and calling it an early start to the weekend, other places like the Tequila Mexican Restaurant are open for business where residents are sharing their thoughts on their hectic day.
“To know that you had to be evacuated, it’s one of those things where if that’s what they say you have to do, then you go,” said Mike Crozier of Northwood.
“My first instinct was my baby. He’s 14 months old, so pretty much it was get out. Get everything and get out,” Manuel Ramirez, Owner of Tequila Restaurant.
Another concern some residents have, is about their health following yesterday’s chemical fire.
There were at least four reports of area residents seeking medical attention from the smoke, and officials say they will continue to run tests.
The city of Northwood says they are inviting a private contractor to help conduct air quality checks throughout the town as a precaution.
While they believe that the heavy gusts were enough to push any contaminated air well out-of-the-way, they say this is the best precautionary move.
“There’s no one machine that can test for everything so you have to make your judgement on the available information and everybody always tries to error to the side of caution when it comes to that kind of thing,” said Jeff Vonsteenburg with Iowa DNR.
The site is now encapsulated by snow and is no longer emitting any fumes because of this.
However, there may still be materials that were not burnt off still on the property and those are the responsibility of the property owners.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
Those with the Iowa DNR remind residents that if you or anyone you know is feeling any reactions to the air quality, please visit your local health providers.