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Two Firefighters Hurt at Columbia County Recycling Facility Fire

PARDEEVILLE, Wis. (WMTV) – Firefighters are continuing to work to put out a fire at a recycling facility off of Highway 16, the Portage Fire Department reported Thursday. People in the area are being asked to stay away from Highway 16 while crews work to fight the fire.

Officials say two firefighters were hurt while trying to extinguish the fire. It’s believed one firefighter overheated and the other one has a knee sprain.

Over 90 percent of the fire is currently contained at the recycling facility.

Columbia County Dispatch Center received reports of the fire just after 2 p.m. at the Columbia County Recycling and Waste Processing Facility. The agency told NBC15 earlier in the afternoon that crews were responding to three separate fires at the time.

According to the Columbia Co. Sheriff’s Office, several storage buildings were fully engulfed in flames when agencies first arrived, but the main recycling center remains unharmed.

Portage Fire Department Chief Troy Haase said one bale of cardboard was on fire and started to spread rapidly, quickly stretching to three structures. Haase said cardboard, garbage and recyclables were all on fire.

There was a large fire just 10 days ago at the Columbia County Recycling and Waste Processing Facility, with nearly eight agencies battling the fire the evening of Sunday, May 14. The three-story building was considered a total loss. Haase said the sheriff’s office will be investigating to determine if Wednesday’s fire is in any way related to the previous one, but there was no information on that yet.

Wind was a factor in making Wednesday’s fire more difficult to attack than last week’s, according to Haase.

“It’s in the open this time,” Haase said. “Before it was inside that building, so we could control it inside there. No it’s out in the open, so the wind caught it and took it.”

A large plume of smoke could be seen on the Wisconsin Department of Transportation’s 511 camera on I-39 at WIS 33.

Haase said more crews plan to arrive at 6 a.m. Thursday. One building has all bales of cardboard inside, which Haase said is difficult to extinguish.

Haase estimated 30 different agencies were on scene fighting the fire. Crews with Lodi Area Fire Dept., Town of Delton Fire Dept., Prairie du Sac Fire Dept., Wyocena Fire Dept., Baraboo Fire Dept., Arlington EMS and Montello Fire Dept. were all seen at the facility Wednesday. Columbia County Sheriff’s Office was also at the facility, and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources was on scene to ensure no wildfires were birthed from the facility fire.

Source : NBC15