Crews believe Marinette County scrap fire started in metal pile

Published: May. 9, 2022 at 4:57 PM CDT|Updated: May. 10, 2022 at 9:17 AM CDT
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TOWN OF PESHTIGO, Wis. (WBAY) - Investigators do not believe a massive fire at a Marinette County scrap metal business was intentional.

Town of Peshtigo Fire Chief Mike Folgert says investigators have a good idea of where the fire started in a metal pile at Sal B Scrap Metal and Recycling, but they’re not yet sure of the cause.

It took about 12 hours for crews to put out the fire. They responded to the scene at 3 p.m. Monday and got it under control by 2:40 a.m. Tuesday. Crews are using equipment to take apart the big pile of metal. Some of it is smoldering deep down so they’re trying to figure out how wide spread it is and dismantle the pile to let it burn out.

Highway 64 was closed for about 11 hours. It reopened to traffic at 2:30 a.m.

The fire burned through the night.

‘’We rolled up on the scene within a few minutes and noticed heavy fire involvement, very large amounts of black smoke. The fire was threatening nearby piles of abandoned vehicles with intact batteries, fuel tanks that had not been stripped before,” Chief Folgert said.

We heard some small explosions as the fire burns in large piles of scrap metal. The biggest threat for firefighters is the wind, which whipped around hot embers. At one point there was a small grass fire nearby. Some residents nearby were told to evacuate or at least stay indoors.

“The threat of that fire moving from where it started, the fire that originated, to the adjacent buildings and piles of scrap metal, was very real, so we did evacuate downwind general residences. We set up to protect any explosives immediately, and unfortunately the pile that is on fire is going to continue to burn,” Chief Folgert said.

Chief Folgert said no injuries have been reported.

Dark black clouds filled the air. Action 2 News also received calls and a photo about the black smoke plume visible in Door County, across the bay of Green Bay.

“One of the big scrap piles in the middle of the yard, I would say about halfway up, was on fire, and winds blowing, pretty windy day, and it was blowing across the highway into the gas station and car dealership. Pretty smoky,” James Magoon said.

Sal B Scrap Metal and Recycling is located near Highway 64 and County Highway T.

Small explosions could be heard, but the biggest threat to firefighters is the wind
Video submitted by April Lane
Marinette fire video submitted by Cynthia Kusba
Video submitted by April Lane
Smoke from the Marinette fire seen across the bay in Egg Harbor in Door County
Smoke from the Marinette fire seen across the bay in Egg Harbor in Door County(Kevin Jacobs)

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