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Fire crews take on mulch fire in Jefferson County, W.Va.

October 03, 2005|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

RIPPON, W.Va. - Fire broke out Sunday morning at a mulch plant along U.S. 340 south of Charles Town and firefighters from three counties worked for about four hours to bring the blaze under control, a fire official said.

Tyson's Tree Wood Recyclers, along the West Virginia/Virginia state line near Rippon, makes mulch by grinding tree stumps.

A similar blaze started at Tyson's Tree Wood Recyclers in February.

Fire officials believe Sunday's blaze - like the fire in February - started as a result of a naturally occurring process typical with mulch piles. When mulch is kept in a large pile, sometimes it will generate intense heat, fire officials said.

Sunday's fire started at about 11 a.m. in a mulch pile that stretched about 100 feet and was about 40 feet tall, said Lt. Ben Money of the Citizens Fire Co.

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About 25 firefighters extinguished the blaze by wetting the mulch as it was spread out by a company employee using an end loader, Money said.

Six water tank trucks were used to douse the fire and firefighters used about 50,000 gallons of water obtained from several locations, including the nearby Huntfield development, Money said.

Such fires happen periodically at mulch operations, Money said. To reduce the risk of fire, owners of the mulch plant use a process that involves moving the piles periodically, Money said.

Firefighters from all five fire departments in the county responded, and aid was sent from Berkeley County, W.Va., and Frederick County, Va., Money said.

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