Crews were called to a raging fire at the Charlestown Mall complex, 311 Turner Street in Utica at 1:30 this morning. Smoke and ash are covering the lower side of East Utica. The abandoned building is a total loss.

It's unknown what kind of chemicals were inside the structure, and the smoke could be extremely hazardous. The Utica Fire Department has issued an air quality warning:

Due to the fire at the former Charlestown Mall, smoke and ash from the fire are covering the lower side of East Utica. Air quality will be impacted until the fire is under control. Please keep all windows closed and stay inside if possible.

Poor air quality can cause immediate health problems. It can irritate your eyes, nose, and throat, cause shortness of breath, aggravate asthma, and other respiratory conditions. It also affects your heart and cardiovascular system. Breathing polluted air for long periods of time can cause more serious problems. Pound for pound, children breathe more than adults and are more sensitive as their air passages are narrower, so it takes less inflammation or irritation to obstruct their airways.

UFD Fire Chief Scott Ingersoll told 'First News with Keeler in the Morning on WIBX' that they are dealing with water supply issues with battling the structure. Frankfort, Schuyler, and Whitesboro departments are on scene assisting. The Chief says, "We're setting up to be here for 24 hours, and I wouldn't be surprised if we are here for 48 hours."

We have reports of listeners smelling the fire from Clinton, Whitesboro, Kirkland, Rome, New Hartford, etc. If you can smell the fire, then close your windows and stay inside for your own safety.

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