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Crews predict fire efforts at tire disposal facility will continue for a week

Published: Dec. 27, 2021 at 7:05 PM EST
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NICHOLAS COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) - It was day three of a large tire fire at a tire disposal facility. The stench of burning rubber still hangs in the air.

Nicholas County OES director John McGinnis is heading the efforts to put the large flames out that have been burning since Christmas Day.

“We isolated the fire to a hundred by hundred area,” McGinnis said.

Thick black smoke and flames come from the hillside, but firefighters said the tires go 80 feet into the ground. McGinnis said a million tires are burning, but most of them are burning underneath the ground.

“We are using the long-reach excavators to dig down to the tires that are burning from underneath the ground,” McGinnis said.

“What we are doing is taking tires with fire and putting them in a moat, and that is separating everything,” McGinnis said.

Ten surrounding agencies are bringing water from a nearby creek off of state Route 39 near Summersville.

Firefighters on scene said they switched to creek water to avoid putting a strain on the Summersville water system.

With the burning rubber, first responders are also taking respiratory precautions, and the Environmental Protection Agency is doing air quality testing.

“Right now, the West Virginia Fire Marshal is here along with DEP, Homeland Security the HazMat team,” McGinnis said.

The fire marshal has currently ruled the cause of the fire as undetermined, although they continue to investigate.

McGinnis said they expect it to take another week to put the fire completely out.

Agencies from four other counties are helping to cover the county while Nicholas County crews fight the fire.

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