Firefighting, Industrial Firefighting, Leadership

Indiana and Illinois Fire Departments Battle Pallet Fire

Personnel from Indiana and Illinois fire departments are working to contain a wind-whipped pallet fire that broke out before noon Tuesday in this Warren County town, reports

A controlled burn of pallets at Reynolds Wood Products, 405 N. High St., turned into an extensive fire, said John Goodrick, chief of the West Lebanon Volunteer Fire Department.

The National Weather Service reports winds were gusting as high as 30 mph in Lafayette, about 30 miles away.

The fire, in an industrial area just north of West Lebanon and east of Ind. 263, spread throughout a field of pallets, sending smoke and flames high into the area and making it difficult for crews at time to get close to the blaze. Smoke could be seen from as far away as Williamsport, a distance of more than five miles.

Jim Lewis, deputy chief of the Wabash Township Fire Department near West Lafayette, estimated the fire was burning in a 100-by-200-yard area. Around 4 p.m., crews were starting to have success fighting the fire, he said. Crews were in the process of building a firestop with a bulldozer, which they hoped would limit the fire’s ability to spread to the nearby industrial buildings and garages.

“It’s starting to look a little better,” Lewis said.

A total of 17 fire departments, including four from Illinois, were helping fight the blaze. The fire was reported about 11:30 a.m.

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