We haven’t even begun to touch the worst of the fire season yet, but with high winds and temperatures yesterday, residents in Rexburg got quite the scare and a pretty good sized fire.
We were with emergency crews today to talk about how much of an impact the strong winds had on the fire last night and how the cleanup process is going.
The fire was an accident, a company called Basic American Foods uses sawdust to energize their boiler system, but with the strong winds things quickly got out of hand.
“When then winds pick up like that, it causes spontaneous combustion in their sawdust piles. We essentially had a two acre square sawdust pile on fire that was two stories high” said Madison County Fire District Chief Corey Child.
Because of the wind; the fire quickly spread to three homes in a neighboring subdivision, a gas station and a warehouse.
“With the amount of smoke it was putting out, it caused a lot of people to come and see what’s going on and we did have a lot of problems with on lookers sneaking in behind the buildings and causing traffic congestion and other concerns” said Captain Randy Lewis of the Rexburg Police Department.
Fire suppression efforts were put off for a while by the exceedingly high winds which also knocked over a tree at Porter Park.
“We actually had 57 firefighters on scene, 10 engines and we cleared the scene at midnight last night and we were up until 2 or 3 this morning putting our trucks back” continued Child.
Today the employees at Basic American Foods are keeping an eye on the area that was affected to make sure another fire doesn’t start back up.