Bethany Theological Seminary’s president Jeff Carter sent out a thank you note via email to seminary supporters, expressing gratitude for the prayers and messages of concern that have been received following the large industrial fire that broke out last week in Richmond, Ind., where the seminary campus is located.
“While everyone in town was affected by this disaster–which destroyed a large warehouse facility storing plastics and led to the evacuation of 1,600 residents–the Seminary was fortunate to be outside the evacuation zone, upwind of the fire site, and not heavily impacted by the fire,” he wrote.
“We did temporarily relocate some residential students off campus, but classes and in-person work were able to continue. Our HVAC system is equipped with top-of-the-line filters that mitigate the negative effects of smoke. We encouraged employees and students to limit their time outdoors and avoid the evacuation zone.
“Residents have now been able to return to their homes, school is back in session, and–in many respects–life has returned to relative normal. Testing by the Environmental Protection Agency and other entities indicate that the air and water in the city do not show elevated levels of toxins commonly associated with fires of this kind. Our firefighters and other first responders did a remarkable job of quickly containing the fire and keeping the community safe. Two firefighters experienced minor injuries during the fire, but there were no injuries to members of the public, and Reid Health (the primary medical system in the Richmond area) reported no significant increase in illnesses related to smoke and fire.
Please pray… For all those affected by the industrial fire in Richmond, Ind.
“We ask for your prayers as our community recovers from this event. Many businesses and more than 900 homes are in the area that was evacuated, including many people who were already living in poverty. Though houses and businesses were protected from the flames, smoke damage was widespread, and debris (including some toxic materials) is still being collected in the region. We are very aware that there may be environmental and health impacts in the region that are not yet known.
“Bethany is deeply connected to this community, and we are deeply grateful for your concern about this crisis. Thank you for your continued engagement and support.”
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