Chesterfield, N.H. -- Firefighters from the Chesterfield, N.H. fire department responded early Tuesday morning August 3, 2004, to the report of a building fire at Chesterfield Tire Service on Route 9 in Chesterfield.
First arriving units found smoke showing from a 2-story garage/warehouse building, which housed more than 1,200 new passenger car tires. Upon entry to the building firefighters found heavy fire volume and thick smoke conditions as they began to attack the fire.
Mutual aid units were immediately called for both manpower, and tankers for water supply. Units responded from Spofford, Hinsdale, Westmoreland, Keene, Swanzey, and Walpole in New Hampshire, Brattleboro, Putney, Dummerston, Westminster, Guilford, Vernon, and New Brook from Vermont and Northfield, Mass. Ambulances from Rescue Inc. in Brattleboro Vt. were called to provide rehab services, with the Red Cross providing refreshment.
Firefighters set up a water supply point in a nearby fire pond, shuttling water to the scene. It is estimated that nearly 300,000 gallons of water were used to control the stubborn blaze, reducing the water level in the fire pond by nearly 3 feet.
The fire quickly broke through the roof of the structure with flames shooting 40 feet into the air. Aerial ladders from Keene and Brattleboro were used to pour water on the fire from above. As the main body of fire was knocked down, firefighters called in an excavator to remove rubble and allow them to access still burning tires buried below. Foam was utilized during this phase to help ensure materials were extinguished.
Because of concerns that petroleum oils from the burning tires could run off, contaminating nearby streams, the hazardous materials team from Keene was called in to contain runoff with booms and absorbent pads.
Despite the intensity of the fire, firefighters were able to keep the fire from spreading to attached garages and showrooms, keeping it in the original fire building. Because of this work, the business was able to open later in the day. Investigators are still searching for the cause of the fire, which at this time is thought to be suspicious.