Fire causes minimal damages

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 12, 2001

Features Editor

A spark from an acetylene torch ignited a pile of insulation about 25 feet in diameter at Ellis Metal shortly before 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, but was quickly brought under control by firefighters from the Brundidge and Hamilton Crossroads volunteer fire departments.

James Ellis, owner of the scrap metal business, said workers were cutting up a trailer when a

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spark accidentally set the insulation ablaze.

"When we tear down a trailer, the insulation is put in a scrap pile until we get a trailer load, then we haul it to the dump at Rose Hill," Ellis said. "I was in my office when I learned about the fire and the volunteer firefighters responded immediately. I can’t tell you how much we appreciate their quick response and their efforts. They’re a dedicated bunch of men."

Jonathan Sneed, a firefighter with the Brundidge

Volunteer Fire Department, said

the fire spread to a trailer that contain wiring and the rubber from the wire was burning in addition to the insulation.

"We had the fire under control in about 10 minutes with the hoses," Sneed said. "We put out fire in the trailer, but it was just the top wiring that was burning. We were concerned that there might be fire down in the trailer. So, Ellis Metals used a knuckle boom loader to pull the wire out and spread it. There was no evidence of fire, but we hosed it down as a precaution. The fire was completely out in about 30 minutes."

Sneed said smoke from the fire prevented the firefighter from determining "what we had" at first.

"But after we got water on it, we realized that it was basically a minor fire," he said, adding the smoke drifted to the north across open land and posed no threat to motorists along Highway 231 about a quarter mile from the scrap pile. "When we were cleared to leave, there was no smoke anywhere."

Ellis said there was slight damage to the tin roof of the building where the workers were tearing down the trailer, "but it was so little that it was nothing."

Glen Adkins, assistant fire chief with the Brundidge Volunteer Fire Department, said this is only the second such fire that has occurred at Ellis Metals in the years he has been a member of the Brundidge Volunteer Fire Department.