A fire that engulfed a pole building, semi-trailer and more than an acre of stacked wood pallets has been deemed accidental in Burlington, Iowa.
Firefighters were initially called to a "wood and trash fire" around 3:25 p.m. Sunday, October 11, 2015, according to Fire Marshal Mark Crooks. When they arrived to the fire in the 11900 block of 107th Street in Flint River Township, they found the stacked wood pallets on fire with flames almost 50 feet high.
"The fire was spreading very rapidly to the north and igniting additional wood material and brush," said a statement from Crooks.
The fire ended up spreading to one of the four buildings on site and a semi-trailer, which were owned by Odessa Wood Products of Wapello, Iowa. The 1.5 acres of stacked wood pallets were considered a total loss. The business was closed at the time of the fire.
Investigators found that an employee had been burning on the property Sunday morning and left before the fire was fully put out, Crooks said. The fire was ruled accidental.
It took more than three hours and 43 firefighters from multiple departments to get the fire under control. Firefighters from West Burlington, Danville, Mediapolis, and Gladstone came to assist Burlington's Fire Department with manpower, 4-wheel drive brush trucks, and bringing water, according to the statement. Water was pumped from a nearby lake and was shuttled from a fire hydrant on West Burlington Avenue.
Crooks said there was limited access to get to get to the fire, so firefighters had to start defensively at the front gate and also had to work with neighbors to clear a path through a corn field to reach the back side of the property. The fire was under control by 6:45 p.m.
One firefighters suffered a minor hand injury, Crooks said.
Five extra firefighters were put on standby at Central Fire Station. New London, Iowa firefighters were placed on standby at the West Burlington station.
The property was insured and damages are estimated to be $100,000.