(HELTONVILLE) - It took firefighters only about 45 minutes to contain a fire at a sawmill Tuesday morning.
"We were fortunate," says Pleasant Run Volunteer Fire Department Chief Steve Nolan. "Saw dust and mulch piles are hard to contain and with the high winds this morning, I thought at first we would lose the mill, but we were about to use 1 3/4 and 2 1/2 hoses and penetrate the pile and get it under control quickly."
Nolan said his department and the Shawswick Township Volunteer Fire Department were automatically toned when the fire was reported at 5:03 a.m. Nolan then called for assistance from Marshall and Guthrie townships. He said 10 trucks responded with 14 firefighters along with an IU Hospital ambulance and TOPES.
Dwight Smith co-owns Smith-Smith Lumber with his brother Wendell. The sawmill is northeast of the Heltonville ball park. Both owners live within a short distance from the lumber mill. Dwight Smith, after being alerted to the fire by a neighbor who was heading to work, could see flames shooting high into the air when he looked out his window.
Nolan says the burning pile was about 25 to 50 semitrailers of mulch
"The owners were there and we had access to bulldozer and that worked out great," Nolan says. I
In addition to the fire in the mulch pile, a small section of the mill building was burning. Although it was too dark to fully assess any damage to the building, Smith believed it to be minimal.
Nolan says temperatures inside a mulch pile can cause it to ignite and with the wind he believes that is what caused the fire.
Smith says he is not sure what the total value of damage is but says a semitrailer of mulch sells for $600.
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