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Officials urge residents near Miami-Dade waste management plant fire to stay indoors

Miami-Dade Fire Chief Ray Jadallah alongside Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava and others at a press conference on Friday.

The work to put out the fire at the Covanta-Waste-to-Energy Plant in Doral continues — but officials are now urging residents to stay indoors, while some local parks have also been closed.

Smoke increased when an east wall was partially demolished this morning to help put out the flames, which also required Miami-Dade Fire Rescue to suspend operations for some time.

"[That] coupled with the overcast weather and the heavy machinery that was removing the east wall and bumping into and removing some of the trash that’s on fire, we did have a increase in smoke production since then," Miami-Dade Fire Chief Ray Jadallah said at a press conference Friday afternoon.

He urged Doral residents to remain indoors, particularly those who live between N.W. 74th and N.W. 92nd Streets, and N.W. 92nd to N.W. 112th Avenues.

"We faced some significant challenges over the course of the last several days, including today, but we continue to move swiftly and we're making some significant progress," Chief Jaddalah added.

Doral Glades and Doral Legacy Parks are closed today. Doral Mayor Christi Fraga said outdoor programs will be rescheduled.

Dr. Hany Atallah, chief medical officer at Jackson Memorial Hospital said, "The key message to the community with regards to safety and keeping people well is avoidance of the smoke wherever possible.

"Keeping the windows closed, running the air conditioners is key. If you notice that your air filter in the home is turning dark, it's a good idea to change those air filters with as high quality filter as you can get."

According to Mayor Fraga, Miami-Dade County Public Schools will be communicating dismissal procedures and other details directly to parents of students in schools in affected areas.

In an email update to residents Friday morning, the mayor said the two parks would be closed out of "an abundance of caution, and based on Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommendations."

In the message, she added, "We remind you to continue avoiding the area and to remain indoors today. Those with preexisting respiratory and cardiac conditions, or elderly populations, younger children and expectant mothers, are recommended to take additional precautions. If you must go outdoors, we recommend you wearing a mask."

All outdoor programming and events at all other parks will be rescheduled to a later date. All Doral Building inspections scheduled for today will be rescheduled to Tuesday, February 21st.

The latest updates and information can be found here: miamidade.gov/wastefire

Verónica Zaragovia was born in Cali, Colombia, and grew up in South Florida. She’s been a lifelong WLRN listener and is proud to cover health care, as well as Surfside and Miami Beach politics for the station. Contact Verónica at vzaragovia@wlrnnews.org
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