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Mexican officials urged to secure toxic fire area

San Diego and Tijuana environmental organizations are asking Mexican officials to secure the area where a massive fire burned yesterday in Tijuana. More than 21,000 tons of toxic materials are at the site where a U.S. battery recycler operated until 1994. KPBS Reporter Amy Isackson has the story.

The fire at the abandoned maquiladora sent thick clouds of black smoke billowing into the air. Tijuana fire officials say the smoke was toxic and contained dangerous levels of lead.

The director of the Environmental Health Coalition in San Diego, Amelia Simpson, says the smoke blew towards people living in a neighborhood less that 200-yards away. She's asking the Mexican government to provide emergency medical assistance.

Simpson: "We're also asking the government to set up a notification system to warn families and workers living in the neighborhood of dangers of exposures to toxics at the site and also around the site."

Mexican government officials say they'll visit the area tomorrow.

U.S. and Mexican government agencies and environmental and community groups have been working to clean up the Metales y Derivados site for more than a decade.
Amy Isackson, KPBS News.

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