Four Firefighters Taken to Hospital After Indiana Plastics Plant Fire

GREENDALE, Ind. (AP) -- Four firefighters were hospitalized for heat exhaustion Thursday while battling a blaze at a southeastern Indiana plastics plant.

Thick, black smoke soared into the sky as some 150 firefighters from a dozen departments in Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky responded to the fire at the Alternative Plastics plant in Dearborn County, about 20 miles west of Cincinnati, said Russ Walden, a town police dispatcher.

The names and conditions of the injured firefighters were not immediately known.

Some residents in the immediate area of the plant were evacuated, but hazardous materials experts tested the air and found nothing dangerous, officials said.

Greendale Fire Chief Ed Noel told Cincinnati station WLW that the fire was burning so hot that when a few firefighters tried to enter the building, their helmets began to melt.

The plant, which grinds up plastic for recycling, is a former distillery built to withstand an alcohol fire, so there is no immediate fear the building might collapse, Noel said.