N.C. Firefighters Use New Strategy on Debris Fire


Firefighters are using a new strategy to put a fire out in Concord that has been burning for more than a week.

Since Wednesday, fire fighters stepped up their efforts and started working around the clock. The Concord Fire Department has two crews of about eight firefighters out on scene at all times.

The original plan was to let the fire burn itself out, but Chief Randy Holloway said that could take up to a month because of the size of the pile and the amount of dirt and concrete mixed in.

Holloway said he expect the fire to be out in about three days. But after more than a week of dealing with heavy smoke, some people who live close by say they've had enough.

Every time Al Evans walks out his front door, he sees a huge cloud of smoke. He said the last week has been a living nightmare. "It's frustrating, very frustrating," he said.

He lives just a few hundred yards away from the burning pile of debris and says when the wind changes direction the smoke consumes his house.

"With the smoke blowing this way, it gets in the garage, the house is just covered with smoke. You just smell it," said Evans.

For more than a week firefighters have been trying to figure out the best way to bring this under control.

Chief Holloway said, "We decided on Wednesday that we had favorable winds and we would try to pull the pile apart and extinguish it."

Firefighters are working with employees from Overcash Gravel and Grading using heavy machinery to dig down to the hot spots then hit them with water.

"It's just a slow tedious process," said Holloway.

He said they're pumping around 100 gallons per minute on this fire, which he says isn't a large amount.

In fact, they're trying to use as little water as possible because if the pile gets too slippery, firefighters and machinery can't keep working.

Evans said he doesn't care how they do it he just wants the fire out.

Holloway said they have about 400 gallons of what he calls a "special wetting agent" that gets mixed in with the water.

He said Overcash paid for the chemical and transportation cost.

A spokesperson with the city said they are monitoring the full cost of this fire but don't have an exact number yet.

They could not say who will pay the final bill when the fire is out.

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