The Helena Fire Department said the cause of the rubbish fire at Pacific Steel & Recycling on Friday, December 14 is still undetermined, but officials do not suspect any wrongdoing.
Full crews from both Helena Fire Stations initially responded around 1:30 p.m. to the fire.
Officials confirmed the fuels burning were tires, insulation, and other refuse in a scrap pile that spewed thick black smoke into the sky.
Helena Fire said their staff treat every fire as a hazardous materials incident and were each equipped with a self-contained breathing apparatus.
Crews are thankful there wasn’t much wind that day and most of the plume went up and away from people limiting their exposure.
Helena Assistant Fire Chief Mike Chambers wanted to thank the volunteer responders for helping to quickly get the fire under control.
“We had West Valley respond to the scene, we had Montana City respond with both of their aerial devices, which assisted with elevated water streams. It was a huge help,” said Chambers. “Lots of help right away and as far as an ugly, dirty, nasty fire in the middle of town, it really could not have gone better.”
Helena Fire would also like to remind people to please pull to the side of the road when they hear or see engines responding to a situation.
Fire officials said their trucks are big and usually need extra turning space.
-Reported by John Riley/MTN News
(December 14, 2018) A fire at Pacific Steel on National Avenue sent huge plumes of black smoke into the Helena sky on Friday afternoon.
The Helena Fire Department says that crews responded at about 1:30 p.m. to the fire and found a large scrap pile burning. The scrap pile consisted of metals, plastics, and other materials, according to the HFD.
In a press release, the HFD said firefighters placed large diameter hose lines in place and began extinguishment.
Equipment and personnel from West Valley and Montana VFD’s were called in and also assisted with extinguishment.
Off-duty personnel from HFD were called in to man the spare apparatus and provided coverage to the City.
The Montana Department of Environmental Quality was called to the scene for air and water run-off monitoring.
Firefighters will remain at the scene and use heavy equipment to tear down the pile and extinguish the hot spots.
Helena Fire Chief Mark Emert said the fire consumed vehicles, tires, and metal that were in the scrap yard.
Emert said no one was injured by the fire or in the firefighting efforts.
“The crews did a wonderful job. They responded from each station and arrived on the scene in less than five minutes… everybody is doing a good job,” Emert said.
There is no word yet on the amount of any damage.