THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
Ten Fire Departments Respond to Sal B Blaze
Issue Date: May 11, 2022
No Injures In Three Alarm Fire
Ten area fire departments and over 75 firefighters responded to a fire at Sal B Scrap Metal Recycling on Monday, May 9. Marinette County Dispatch Center paged the Town of Peshtigo Fire Department at 3:36 pm for a small fire at the business. While in route to the station Town of Peshtigo Fire Chief Mike Folgert, received a radio report from another firefighter stating the fire had a good head start and smoke was billowing from the yard of Sal B where many cars were piled. Chief Folgert then notified dispatch to send a ladder truck from the City of Marinette Fire Department.
Upon arrival at the scene, Chief Folgert realized size of the fire and called for a MABAS box alarm which brought additional resources from the City of Peshtigo Fire Department and Grover-Porterfield Fire Department. Thick black smoke could be seen for miles as the fire grew in intensity with numerous explosions being heard. Firefighters wore N-95 face masks during the fire due to the think smoke. It was reported that smoke could be seen even in Door County across the bay. As fire crews arrived they set up ladder trucks and portable monitors to keep water flowing on the blaze. Hydrants from the City of Marinette were used to flow water to the fire. Hydrants were also used to fill tenders, but as the number of tenders needed increased a fill unit from the Town of Little River Fire Department was called to fill tenders at Cox Landing. Over 600,000 gallons of water was used from the City of Marinette alone and an additional 400,000 gallons of water was filled by Cox Landing. Two fire trucks from the Town of Peshtigo pumped water to deck guns and to the ladder truck from Marinette Fire Department. The City of Peshtigo engine pumped water to a ladder truck from Grover-Porterfield and to portable monitors.
Chief Folgert went to a second alarm on the MABAS box system for additional tenders and man power due to the length of time firefighters were to remain on scene. Eventually Chief Folgert went to a third alarm for additional tenders. At the height of the blaze five engines, three ladder trucks and nine tenders were on scene. The additional alarms brought units from Coleman Fire Department, Pound Fire Department, Little River Fire Department, Town of Lake Fire Department, Middle Inlet Fire Department and the Wagner Fire Department. The fire was primarily contained to a large pile of scrapped vehicles and other metals that had been processed. When firefighters first arrived on scene one of the primary goals was to prevent the fire from spreading to the adjacent building which housed the offices and collection center for Sal B Recycling. A grass fire ignited by windblown embers started on an adjacent property and the Department of Natural Resources was called to extinguish that fire. Firefighters stayed through the night to keep the fire from spreading. They also kept a close eye on a residence on the west side of the building to make sure the fire didn't spread. Country Visions Coop was called twice during the fire to bring diesel fuel to fire trucks and fill units as well as tenders.
Area law enforcement agencies closed down Highway 64 in both directions and also Highway 180 due to the amount of heavy smoke coming from the blaze. At times the smoke was so thick fire trucks couldn't be seen and visibility was close to zero. The Marinette County Highway Department also responded with barricades and barrels to assist with the highway shutdown. The highways eventually reopened approximately 2:30 Tuesday morning. Emergency Rescue Squad members and paramedics from Aurora Bay Medical Hospital were present during the fire to rehab firefighters as they came over for a break. ERS personnel and paramedics took vital signs and provided water to make sure firefighters kept enough fluids in their systems.
Volunteers from the Grover-Porterfield and Town of Peshtigo women's auxiliary provided pizza, power bars, chips and refreshments for all those responding to the fire. Chief Folgert stated he was happy no one was injured during the fire and the whole thing could have been a lot worse if the fire had spread to the main building where gasoline and oil was being stored. Other agencies responding to the fire included, Wisconsin Public Service, Marinette County Sheriff's Department, Marinette Police Department, Menominee Police Department, Wisconsin State Patrol, MJB Industries and Country Visions Coop.
The Town of Peshtigo Fire Department returned to Sal B Recycling on Tuesday afternoon to wrap up operations from the fire on Monday and extinguished any remaining hot spots. Cause of the fire is under investigation by the Town of Peshtigo Fire Department.