Elkhart residents voicing concerns about inhaling landfill fire smoke

NOW: Elkhart residents voicing concerns about inhaling landfill fire smoke


“It’s concerning as a parent when I have two students who have breathing issues,” said Jodi Earp, and Elkhart resident and mother of two Concord Community Schools students.

Nearly 40 hours after a landfill in Elkhart County sat engulfed in flames, surrounding neighborhoods remain foggy with smoke still blowing in from that area, including Concord Junior High which is just two miles away.

“When I was at the junior high today, the smoke is surrounding the school,” saod Earp.

That’s where Jodi Earp sends her son to school every day, but says she was hesitant Thursday morning because her son has asthma.

“The whole second story of the junior high is so.. it smells so bad, the kids are starting to get headaches, they’re coughing, they’re eyes are burning,” said Earp.

Concord Community School officials finally decided enough was enough and released students at 1:00 p.m. Thursday.

The Elkhart County Health Department says there are still pockets where there has been quite of bit of smoke and since smoke is an irritant, particularly small children or older folks who have lung problems are more at risk for problems.

One local doctor says, in Jodi’s case…

“People get worse quickly if they have asthma, especially asthma,” said Dr. Walid Hadid, Pulmonologist with Goshen Health System.

Dr. Hadid says this situation is particularly dangerous for those with pulminary diseases and bronchitis.

“It might irritate their airway and cause increase of bronchial asthma and they will start wheezing,” said Dr. Hadid.

Earp is hoping for some answers soon, especially knowing her kids are still scheduled to go back to in school Friday.

“These kids can’t control this. This is beyond anybody’s control, but yet, they’re the ones that suffer,” said Earp.

Authorities are still telling people in this area to shelter in place, meaning you need to stay inside. If you do and you’re still getting irritated by the smoke, the health department says you should consider moving to a different location.

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