MT. PLEASANT — A tin structure located on the 2500 grid of Hickory Ave. that was filled with stacked lumber caught on fire and is expected to burn for the next several days in Mt. Pleasant. Currently, the cause of the fire still is unknown.
Drew Schumacher, Mt. Pleasant Fire Department’s fire chief explained that the department got the call at 2:15 p.m. about the fire from Jason Smith, a local business owner who noticed the flames. Both Mt. Pleasant and Salem’s fire department responded to. The tin structure, owned by Robert L. Smith Construction, “was clear full of wood, from one end to the other … clear to the ceiling,” assistant fire chief Jeff Beavers said. According to Schumacher, the structure was the owner’s workshop, which was why so many materials were being stored in the shed.
Over an hour following the initial call, firefighters were standing outside of the structure as wood materials continued to burn inside. Schumacher explained that because the structure was at risk of caving in, exhibited by the way the roof slanted inward, it would be unsafe for firemen to enter the shed to fight the fire. Beavers also added that the tin structure keeps the heat trapped inside, acting like an “oven” which makes it more difficult for the department to put out. The structure doesn’t allow heat to ventilate, which was why the department was waiting for an excavation team to knock the structure’s walls down before being able to contain the situation.
“What we’re doing is let her burn down some and then we’re going to tear the walls down and put the fire out,” Beavers said.
“We didn’t have enough water to put it out so we just [decided] to let the stuff burn,” the assistant fire chief added.
Beavers also explained that he estimates it will take about 20,000 gallons of water to put the fire out after the walls of the structure are torn down.
“It will probably burn for the next couple days … all of the wood and embers will just burn. We’ll put it into a big pile and it will be controlled then … it’s not going to go nowhere,” Beavers explained the department’s plan.
A Union reporter heard over the scanner at approximately 4:45 p.m. that the fire department had contained the situation and returned to their station.