A massive tire fire at a scrap tire recycling facility near Watertown was extinguished July 23, although local firefighting officials said there were a few hot spots remaining to monitor.
The Watertown Fire Department used micro-encapsulating foam it had obtained from Fayetteville, Ga.-based Hazard Control Technologies Inc. to put the fire out, said Assistant Chief Mike Quint of the department.
The fire began the morning of July 19 in a pile of tire chips at Watertown Recyclers L.L.C. and spread quickly to consume as many as half of the estimated 400,000 to 1 million tires at the site. Thomas Springer, owner of Watertown Recyclers, told local media that either a spark or internal combustion started the fire. Neither Mr. Springer nor his attorney, Vicki Zick, could be reached for further comment.
Some 100 to 125 firefighters from 45 local fire departments came out to fight the fire, according to Chief Deputy Blaine Lauersdorf of the Watertown Sheriff Dept. Various news sources said 30 tanker trucks poured 3 million gallons of water on the blaze.
The fire destroyed the recycling facility and a nearby house that Mr. Springer owned but did not occupy. No injuries were reported.
Officials from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the Environmental Protection Agency were at the site beginning July 21 monitoring the air and groundwater situation there. Because firefighters acted quickly to contain the conflagration, environmental officials believe the long-term environmental effects will be minimal, Mr. Lauersdorf said. Nevertheless, health officials warned people who lived close to the fire to stay indoors with their windows closed to avoid the oily black smoke.
Watertown is a town of about 22,000 people. It is roughly halfway between Milwaukee and Madison, Wis.