Emergency officials have contained most of the fire that tore through a tire store in Columbus County Monday night. With most of the flames extinguished, emergency officials are starting to shift their attention to the surrounding environment. The fire at Carolina Tire Sales in Chadbourn started Monday night around 11:30, but Wednesday emergency teams were still trying to put out all of the flames. “Right now they're trying to segregate debris, that would allow them access to some of those hot spots,” said Kenneth Rhame of the EPA. With the fire basically under control, other concerns are rising from the smoke. “Our other concern that we have right now is going to be air quality for the areas around here,” said Town Manager Stevie Cox. The EPA took air quality samples to make sure it's safe to breathe. Given the wind's direction certain buildings are of particular concern. “Right now, the way the air is pushing around here with the smoke is pushing it in that southwest direction, which is in the direction of Chadbourn Middle School,” Cox explained. Now that most of the fire has been contained, the EPA is trying to limit the damage done to the natural environment. They've brought in 20,000 gallon tanks to prevent the fire water run off from getting into local swamps. With a large amount of wildlife in the area, humans aren't the only ones who could be harmed by the contaminants. “We're concerned about the impacts it may have to aquatic life, you know potential fish kills, things of that nature,” Rhame said. Results from the air and water quality tests won't be available until tomorrow. In the mean time, town officials are urging any one with breathing problems to move away from the area. Columbus County emergency services will help residents find temporary shelter.
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