Public health concerns after downtown fire

By Brandi Bailey
By Anna Norris

April 30, 2014 Updated Apr 30, 2014 at 6:18 PM EDT

Binghamton, N.Y. (WBNG Binghamton) The Ellis Brothers Furniture Store fire caused surrounding buildings to evacuate and several other buildings to close for public health and safety concerns.

Both Binghamton High School and the Broome County Social Services building closed at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday due to air quality concerns.

People were also encouraged to stay away from the downtown area while firefighters controlled the flames.

The Broome County Health Department said signs that you should remove yourself from the smoke include having difficulty breathing and burning in the throat and eyes.

"There's a number of chemicals that can be released with any smoke. Even wood smoke has chemicals in it," said Chris Coddington, Director of Broome County Environmental Health. "All of it has hazardous materials no matter what's burning,"

The Health Department said fire departments test the air quality when they enter a burning building. Outside air is usually only tested when a fire lasts for an extensive period.