UPDATED: Firefighters extinguish blaze at Montville scrapyard
Montville ― Dozens of firefighters fought a multi-alarm fire Wednesday at a scrapyard on Pequot Road.
First reported at 6:14 a.m., firefighters arrived to find a fire burning a large pile of unsorted scrap material at Connecticut Scrap at 33 Pequot Road. The smoke from the fire mingled with morning fog and could be seen and smelled from several neighboring towns.
Residents received an automated message from the town on Wednesday warning them to steer clear of the area and keep windows and doors closed to avoid exposure to the smoke.
Montville Fire Marshal Paul Barnes said officials from the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection were called to the scene to monitor air quality and check water runoff for contaminants.
Paul Copleman, a DEEP spokesman, said testing was expected to continue throughout the day.
“We are monitoring the water that runs off from the fire departments’ efforts to douse the flames, and have air monitoring equipment in place to monitor the smoke emanating from the fire,” Copleman said.
The air detection equipment tests for volatile organic compounds and carbon monoxide, among other readings, and test results “so far do not pose a risk to human health,” Copleman said.
Barnes said that firefighters from more than a dozen towns, including at least one from Rhode Island, were called in to help shuttle water to the scene.
“It’s an elaborate tanker operation,” Barnes said.
The convoy of tanker trucks dumped water into temporary pools on Pequot Road that was then pumped to hand lines and ladder trucks positioned over the 60-foot high burning pile of debris. Employees with Connecticut Scrap used heavy machinery to dig into the pile and help expose the fire, Barnes said.
Several explosions occurred during the fire, probably from propane tanks in the pile, Barnes said. Two firefighters suffered minor injuries but were evaluated at the scene and returned to work shortly after, Barnes said.
The majority of the fire was knocked down by 4 p.m. and Barnes said crews planned to remain at the scene to extinguish hot spots.
This is the second major fire at the scrap yard in recent memory. There was a fire on Oct.5, 2020 that burned light metals, vehicles, batteries and motor vehicle fluids, among other items.
The cause of Wednesday’s fire is under investigation.
Fire officials initially reported the fire to be at a facility run by DW Transport & Leasing, the company that transports scrap and has the same owner as Connecticut Scrap.
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