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Rubbish combustion caused fire in Placedo

By by Erin Pradia -
June 1, 2011 at 1:01 a.m.
Updated June 2, 2011 at 1:02 a.m.

Victoria Firemen keep a steady stream of water on a fire that broke out in a trash pit behind the work yard of Pegasus Operating Inc. near Placedo. Old junk tanks and tires were burning after a spontaneous combustion began in the waste area.

PLACEDO - Spontaneous combustion caused a fire in some rubbish at Pegasus Operating Inc. on U.S. Highway 87 in Placedo on Wednesday evening.

Sheriff's deputies were first on the scene, responding to a call suspecting the fire was in violation of the burn ban.

Kerstin Jones, of Placedo, phoned the fire department at 6:23 p.m. after the horse she was riding was spooked by the sound of the combustion.

"All I could see was coal-black smoke until the wind carried the smoke," Jones said. When the smoke cleared, she saw 15-foot flames.

The battalion chief of the Victoria Fire Department, Shannon Martin, believes the fire was started by spontaneous combustion of the materials in the rubbish pile containing mostly railroad ties, tires, oily rags, containers with oil residue, brush and metal.

Pegasus owner Diane Griffin says because the burn ban prevents burning waste as it is created, the site is used to collect trash to be disposed of once they have a truckload. Griffin says nothing had been deposited there for more than two months.

Victoria County Fire Marshal Ronald Pray believes the oily materials could be disposed of more thoroughly by either cleaning them or containing them in air-tight containers. The clumped rags yielded to combustion.

Martin says the fire was easily contained, but flames will probably smolder through the night.

A representative from Pegasus Operating Inc. was on site to monitor the smoldering fire through the night to insure it doesn't spark again.

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