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Smoke from Fire Near Port of L.A. Puts Kids into Masks

Posted on September 23, 2014
by Wendy Stackhouse

We are used to hearing about wildfires–and the dangerous smoke they add to the air–in our forests, but not so much in the city. Today we are hearing reports of smoke from fire near the Port of Los Angeles which is causing evacuations in the local area, including an elementary school.

Some parents are angry that school was held this morning, as the fire was already burning and smoke from the fire which had spread to creosote-soaked pylons from World War II was already present:

“Earlier in the day, Los Angeles fire¬†officials had recommended that two nearby schools — St. Peter-St. Paul and De La Torre Jr. elementary schools, both in Wilmington —¬†close as a precaution. But L.A. Unified officials kept De La Torre Jr. open, saying in an email message to parents that they had determined toxic smoke from the wharf posed “no threat to the health of students or staff at the school.'” Los Angeles Times, 9/23/2014

The parents felt that the children, especially those with asthma, could have been spared all exposure to the toxic fumes if they hadn’t been at school or had to go in and out again when school was closed.

Inhalation of creosote smoke from fire can cause:

  • Breathing difficulties
  • Disorientation
  • Muscle spasms
  • Skin, nose and eye irritation
  • Lung damage, in large amounts

The health of our community and its children is paramount. It may have been better to cancel a school day today while firefighters dealt with the fire by the Port of Los Angeles. Hopefully all the children were evacuated safely and are doing well.

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