Is it just me or should I really be upset that paper mache with black latex paint was used as fuel in the community oven? I mean seriously.
I would skip this bake round and post a formal complaint. Black doesn't bother me but latex would. I don't know if the hot oven temps remove all traces of it. Have we got a chemist in the house?
Ask your local fireman what smoke fumes can do to your lungs...my family, my brother retired Bat. Chief, 2 sons are firemen, Uncle was fireman, cousins too!
.........but the reality is that some people just don't give a hoot. That, as they say, is why we cannot have nice things.
I would burn a good hot fire in it, let it cool, sweep it out, and repeat. That is probably overkill, but would make me feel more comfortable about baking in it.
Yes you should be upset in that burning such junk could put all sorts of bad stuff into the air. No you should probably not be overly concerned that it will somehow taint your bread. First, if properly fired, the oven will eventually reach temperatures high enough to burn up contaminants. Witness the fact that in a properly fired oven, the bricks are left clean because all the soot is burned away. Second (assuming you're doing retained heat baking), once the fire is raked out, there is little opportunity for any contaminants remaining on the oven walls to migrate to the contents of the oven -- the stuff won't just leap off the bricks and into your bread. If you're worried about contaminants on the hearth, use parchment under your items. (Something I generally do anyway.)
I'm also assuming that paper mache and paint was not the only fuel, but was mixed in with wood. So, while I wouldn't make a practice of it, I wouldn't be overly worried about a one-time incident. Do I have empirical evidence for any of this? No more than any of the other posters. But as another poster says, file a complaint to limit future occurances. But I wouldn't lose any sleep over it.
Still not happy. Might wait a month of burns before I cook in it again.
Since it appears at least one person in your community has a "common sense" deficit, be sure they don't do something even worse: be sure they never burn scraps of "pressure-treated" lumber (not even so faded you can hardly see, and not even the newer not-green stuff).
I don't even like the idea of pallets or any processed wood. I just had no idea in the wildest that anyone would burn paint in it. Almost speechless except for these posts. ;)