Miami-Dade County

Doral Fire: Nearby Parks Close, Schools Impacted After EPA Report Shows ‘Unhealthy' Air Quality

Two nearby parks closed out of an abundance of caution, Doral officials said

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What to Know

  • Parks near the site of the energy plant fire in Doral were closed Friday as smoky conditions persisted days after the blaze broke out
  • Residents near the plant were urged to stay indoors with their windows closed or wear masks if outside, and nearby schools were impacted by the fire, with one asking parents to pick their children up early, if possible
  • The fire, which broke out Sunday, continued to burn 6 days later was firefighters continued to encounter challenges

Parks were closing, schools were impacted and residents near the Miami-Dade County waste-to-energy facility in Doral were urged to stay indoors Friday, after a report from the Environmental Protection Agency showed the air quality in the area at "unhealthy" levels earlier this week.

According to the EPA report released Thursday, there were two separate times on Wednesday when the air quality reached "unhealthy" levels, once at 7 p.m. and the other between 10 p.m. and 1 a.m. near the west side of the plant.

In a statement Friday posted to the county's waste fire website, Miami-Dade officials urged all residents residing between Northwest 74th Street and Northwest 92nd Street, and Northwest 92nd Avenue to Northwest 112th Avenue, to remain indoors throughout the day.

"Anyone with preexisting respiratory and cardiac conditions, as well as older adults, young children, and expectant mothers, should take extra precautions, such as wearing a mask if you need to be outdoors," the county's message read.

Officials said Friday that as firefighters gain greater access to the center of the fire, they expected an increase in smoky conditions.  

At a news conference, Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Chief Ray Jadallah said they temporarily suspended operations Friday morning for the demolition of a wall, which led to an increase in the smoky conditions.

In addition, out of an abundance of caution and based on EPA recommendations, Doral Glades Park and Doral Legacy Park are closed effective immediately until further notice, Doral city officials said. All outdoor programming and events at all other parks will be rescheduled to a later date. All Doral Building inspections scheduled for Friday will be rescheduled to Tuesday, February 21st.

Miami-Dade County Public Schools are also communicating directly to parents of schools in the affected area to provide dismissal procedures and further details.

At Ronald Reagan/Doral Senior High, parents were encouraged to pick up their children from school. If parents were unable to, students were being kept safely indoors for the remainder of the school day.

The fire broke out Sunday at the Miami-Dade County Resources Recovery Facility and continued to burn six days later in two buildings in the property.

Firefighters have encountered a number of obstacles to putting out the blaze, including the large amount of trash at the site and not being able to access certain areas.

Earlier in the week, crews began demolition of one of the buildings so they could better reach the fire.

"Our firefighters are doing everything in their power to extinguish this fire, they've been working around the clock, it was up to a four-alarm fire, they're working long shifts, they've brought in any extra personnel that might be needed, they're knocking down the walls of the building so they can get to the interior of the fire quickly, so everything in their power to extinguish this fire as quickly as possible," Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said at a news conference Thursday. "We realize that this is a concern, an inconvenience, that people are worried. We're all wanting to extinguish this fire as quickly as possible."

EPA officials said they're still collecting air samples and doing air monitoring near the site and throughout the community.

Some residents said they're upset with the way the information from the EPA reports has been shared. 

“All of that data should have been shared and all we got were summary reports basically saying 'stay out of the smoke,'" Fernando Horritiner said. "That’s unacceptable on so many levels when now we are finding out that the levels that were recorded are unsafe.”

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