(Canton) Police say as many as 25,000 people were evacuated from their homes Monday night as an industrial fire at a former packaging plant continued to burn. Sources say fumes from the fire contain Sulfur Dioxide.

Many were allowed to return home Tuesday morninng. Five Canton school were closed Tuesday due to the fire.

Responders trained to handle hazardous materials were called to the business, where firefighters continued dousing the smoking building Tuesday.

Firefighters initially responded to the blaze Monday afternoon. Battalion Chief Tom Garra says area residents were evacuated because air monitors detected sulfur dioxide at levels that weren't life-threatening but posed a health hazard. Those levels had dropped by early Tuesday.

Garra says white smoke released from the initial blaze indicated a possible chemical reaction or leak.

The site had been used by Convoy Containers at 19th Street and Harrisburg Road.  Its website indicates it went out of business in 2011.

Sgt. Eric Risner with the Canton Police Department tells WTAM 1100 the evacuations encompassed a "densley populated urban area".

Risner says anyone two blocks from the evacuated neighborhoods who decided to stay in their homes needed to shelter and remain in place with their doors and windows closed until they were given the all clear. 

Residents living in the area of 25th Street North to Fourth Street South, and from Rowland Avenue to Grace Avenue were under evacuation orders.

The American Red Cross has set up a shelter at the Canton Memorial Civic Center on Market Street North. It's open to the public.

Anyone needing assistance is asked to contact the Canton Dispatch Center at 330-649-5800. No injuries are being reported.

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(Copyright 2013 Clear Channel and the Associated Press, all rights reserved. Photo courtesy WKYC TV-3.) 

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