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Residents Near Northern Metals Recycling Plant Fire Worry About Lingering Impacts

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- School will resume in Becker Friday after a fire at a recycling plant forced the district to cancel classes Thursday.

Firefighters finally got control of the flames at Northern Metal Recycling Plant Thursday, after the junked cars have burned for nearly three day. There was still smoke and steam rising from the cars late Thursday night. Firefighters are now working on breaking up the car pile.

Becker police say results from a second round of air quality tests came back Late Thursday night, and showed nothing of immediate concern. More in-depth results are expected Friday. Until then, people living in the area are wondering what exactly is in the air.

READ MORE: Air Quality In Twin Cities Downgraded To Moderate As Becker Fire Burns On

The black smoke plume from the fire was right over Trisha Reiling's house Wednesday night.

"It just smelled kind of like, I don't know, burning tires here for a few days," Trisha Reiling said. "You just kind of start to think, 'If I have to evacuate my house, where am I going to go?'"

Her husband Scott also noticed it on his drive home.

"It actually blocked the sun on [Interstate] 94," Scott Reiling said. "It was pretty intense."

Northern Metals Fire
(credit: CBS)

Just up the street from the Reilings, their neighbors on the Olson farm are finding soot and debris from the fire in their yard.

Now that the raging flames and massive plume is dying down, resident concerns are heating up

"Will those particles, like, hang in the air, or are they already gone?" Trisha Reiling said.

Officials tested the air near the fire on Tuesday for deadly toxins like carbon monoxide, and say there was no need to evacuate the area.

Northern Metals hired a third-party company to test the air quality. Officials say that testing didn't start until Thursday -- two days after the fire broke out -- because of how long the large fire burned.

READ MORE: WCCO Meteorologist Mike Augustyniak Answers: 'Where Will The Air Over Becker Travel?'

Megan Reiling had the day off from school because of the fire. She hopes that it won't continue to impact her family long after the smoke clears.

"Hopefully they'll develop some policies and some procedures, so if this ever happens again, God forbid, they'll be more prepared," Trisha Reiling said.

About 100 fire departments provided some sort of assistance at the plant.

The fire is also impacting community events. There was supposed to be an outdoor bike race in town Saturday, but the golf course decided to cancel because of the fire.

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