Tire fire paints skies over Central Taiwan district black

Operator of tire storage space fined NT$5 million

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Burning tires color skies above Houli black Tuesday (May 7) noon.

Burning tires color skies above Houli black Tuesday (May 7) noon. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Residents of the Taichung City District of Houli received a nasty scare Tuesday (May 7) as the skies turned black due to burning tires.

The operator of a storage place for discarded tires was fined NT$5 million (US$161,600) by the Taichung City Government as this was the second fire to occur at the site since late last year, the Central News Agency reported.

The tires were stored inside a two-floor-tall sheet-metal structure, but the cause of the fire was not known, firefighters said.

By 3 p.m., the blaze had been brought under control, but residents expressed fears about the risk of toxic pollution and preferred to stay inside for the time being while closing their windows.

Officials from the city’s environmental affairs department conducted a battery of tests to measure the toxicity of the air, but they did not find any irregular high levels, CNA reported.

As a similar incident occurred at the same location last December 11, the authorities decided to fine the operator of the plant the maximum NT$5 million and to keep monitoring the site.

Houli is usually better known as a center for the flower-growing industry in Taiwan.