Fire at Outdoor Recycling Center

Published on May 19, 2023

Fire in Armourdale May 2023

This is an update to the large outdoor fire that occurred on 5/19/2023 at 1153 S. 12th Street. The site was checked by Fire Department personnel for the 36-hours following the completion of fire suppression efforts. No re-kindles were observed during these visits. The investigation into the cause and origin of the fire is ongoing and results of that investigation will be released when completed. This report will not be completed for several weeks as full reports from involved entities and interviews and follow-up interviews from all employees of the facility need to be completed.

The EPA has provided preliminary information on the air quality monitoring they conducted during the fire. The EPA did not detect elevated air quality issues that would affect persons in the areas affected by the smoke plume or its fallout ashes. The substances that were monitored for were VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) and Vinyl Chlorides. These are the substances that could be produced from vehicular fires as a result of tires, plastics, foam insulation, and wiring that have been identified as the fuel sources for this fire. KDHE representatives have also confirmed that any runoff water from suppression activities did not pose a hazard to local streams/rivers and that allowing the runoff from the property to enter the Kansas River would not be any type of violation to their standards.

A fire on May 19, 2023, at Advantage Metals Recycling (1153 S 12th St.) in KCK may affect people in the area. The fire has been declared under control at this time. 

Update from Public Health as of 7:40PM

As of this time, according to the U.S. Air Quality Index, air quality levels in the area are now in the “moderate” level. This means air quality is acceptable for most people, but if you are unusually sensitive to particle pollution, consider reducing your activity level or shorten the amount of time you are active outdoors. Click here to learn more and check current air quality levels by city or zip code.


At this time, the fire has been declared under control. There are some hot spots that are being overhauled, but the smoke has been mostly reduces to steam. The on-site command center will be closed by 7pm. EPA representative have ceased their operations and have collected all of their air monitoring equipment as they have not had any elevated readings for the past several hours. Plans at this time are to remove all suppression equipment this evening, within the next 2-hours, and have sporadic site visits by the Fire Department throughout the night. 


The UG Public Health Department (UGPHD) advises you to stay indoors at this time if possible. The UGPHD’s Air Quality Program and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are monitoring local air quality and will alert community members of any further concerns.


This is an update to the current fire conditions and suppression activities at the above location. The fire has been fully contained to the main pile of recycle debris. The use of on-site cranes has allowed for approximately 50% of the pile to be moved/sifted to allow for extinguishment of lower levels of the pile. One firefighter has been taken to a local Emergency Department to have their eyes evaluated/flushed after receiving incidental contact with firefighting foam. The initial firefighting crews are currently be rotated out with fresh crews.  

On-scene Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) personnel, Unified Government Wastewater personnel and Fire Command have shut off a drainage system valve to minimize any possible contaminant from entering the Kansas River. Catch booms were placed around the drain piping to catch any oils that may have been released from the pile.  

Winds have changes slightly, allowing for the smoke plume to drift in a more Southerly direction. Haz-Mat crews and EPA crews are deployed and are continuously monitoring any areas that may possibly be affected by smoke or particulate fallout. 


The EPA has indicated that the regulatory air quality monitoring system has been triggered by smoke transported from wildfires in Canada. Currently, the Topeka metro is also seeing the same levels of particulate matter as the KC area. We will continue to monitor air quality conditions with our partners. 


KCKFD was dispatched to Advantage Metals Recycling this morning for a reported fire in their large recycling pile. First arriving crews found a large recycling pile burning which created a large plume of dark some easily seen across the city.

Multiple agencies have been notified of the response, including: Kansas Department of Health & Environment; Kansas City, Kansas Police Department; Kansas State Fire Marshal’s Office; EPA Region 7 for air monitoring; Neighborhood Resource Center; Kansas Department of Emergency Management; Water Pollution Control; National Weather Services; Wheeler Downtown Airport; Johnston County Communications Center; and BNSF Railroad.

Unified Government Emergency Management on the scene requested air monitoring equipment from the EPA to collect air samples and any fallout debris for analysis of their contents to develop a report for later inquiries from the public about any potential issues arising from the smoke byproducts. Currently EPA official are on the scene deploying their monitoring equipment.  

At this time significant suppression progress has been made on the west side of the pile; this is where initial suppression efforts were focused. KCKFD is working to get the fire under control on the east side of the pile, the most difficult area to access. There have been no injuries to Fire or Civilian personnel at this time nor has any resources been damaged at this time.