Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Fire At Smithfield Scrap Metal Plant Contained -

Smithfield firemen watch over a fire at Atlantic Scrap & Processing that continued to burn Tuesday. Eighteen departments battled the fire, first reported at 5:12pm Monday, that burned the size of three football fields of crushed cars. WMPM Photo Fire At Smithfield Scrap Metal Plant Contained - A massive fire that erupted Monday afternoon at Atlantic Scrap & Processing on Wal-Pat Road in Smithfield was contained on Tuesday, but Smithfield Fire Chief Patrick Harris said smoke from the blaze will likely billow for a couple more days. A total of 18 departments and more than 100 personnel battled burning piles of hundreds of crushed cars at the facility between US301 and Interstate 95. Chief Harris said the first call came in at 5:12pm Monday. When crews arrived on the scene, heavy fire was already showing. A police officer said company workers were trying to contain the blaze with on-site firefighting apparatus, but the flames were too intense. Unlike the last fire at the same plant in October, Chief Harris said the fire had a big jump on firefighters. In October, Harris said a pile of junked cars about the size of a football field burned, taking 20 hours and 11 departments to contain. This time, the fire burned an area the size of three football fields. Johnston County emergency management and state air quality officials monitored the fire, testing air quality levels in Smithfield and Selma for several hours. The public was never in any danger from the thick black smoke. Due to the large amount of water used to contain the fire, Johnston County and the Town of Smithfield have issued a mandatory water conservation advisory until further notice. Chief Harris said after October’s fire, the Smithfield fire marshal had started working with the Atlantic Scrap to prevent another massive blaze. “We’re going to set down again and assess the lessons learned and look at what we can do different,” Chief Harris told WMPM on Tuesday. Harris went on to say there is a certain amount of risk in the process of grinding metal. However, Smithfield fire investigators want to know how the blaze spread so rapidly this time. “It had a tremendous head start,” Harris added. No injuries were reported.


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