Butler County tire business continues to burn, EPA gives fire crews green light to use water

Crews working to contain environmental impact of tire dealer fire

MORGAN TOWNSHIP (FOX19) - Fire crews say they believe they’ve brought under control a fire that erupted in a Butler County tire business Tuesday night.

The blaze broke out at Wholesale Tire Mart in the 4900 block of Alert New London Road in the community of Shandon.

At its height, it produced tall flames and billowing clouds of smoke. Mortar could be seen melting out of the building’s walls, and loud cracks echoed into the night as those walls collapsed.

Previously | Crews letting fire burn in Butler County to avert ‘environmental disaster,’ chief says

“The plan for tonight,” Morgan Township Fire Chief Jeff Galloway said, “is to have everybody out of here by six o’clock tonight, and then have an overnight fire watch, as we did last night, to keep a check on it. And then we’ll evaluate tonight what resources we need to bring back tomorrow.”

After the fire reignited last night around 8:45 p.m., crews avoided the use of water because of their concern that chemicals in the building might leak into a nearby stream, but that thinking changed Wednesday.

“The EPA has now allowed us to use a foam and water mixture to get the hotspots out, or we would be here a lot longer,” Galloway said.

Fire crews are reportedly “trucking water" onto the scene because there are no fire hydrants surrounding the business.

The entire township only has around 50 hydrants, Galloway explains. With water lines just 6 inches in diameter, the township’s underground plumbing wasn’t build to support the kind of flow needed to battle fires, he adds.

To pump enough water to fight a fire, the water lines need to be about ten inches wide.

“You’re talking rural parts of the county, and they were never engineered to be put out in the farming and rural communities in Butler County and other rural counties in Ohio,” he said. “Slowly we’re working with the water department to add hydrants, but it’s a slow, painstaking and costly measure to add fire hydrants to a rural area.”

Fire officials say one thing they’re monitoring is how smoke rises around the fire.

FOX19 NOW’s drone video shows smoke rising and spreading away from the tire business, which gives crews confidence that the air quality for those living near the warehouse is safe.

“There’s no real threat to anybody who lives over in this area as afar as air quality goes,” assistant fire chief Jeff Griffith said. “We’re monitoring air quality both locally and downstream. As long as it keeps rising up and away we’re confident that the air quality is fine and safe.”

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