It became a busy afternoon in a short time for the Crystal Fire Department, which responded to back-to-back calls less than 10 minutes apart on Wednesday afternoon.
The first call came in at 4:39 p.m. for a brush fire above P/M National at 201 Grotzinger Rd., off of Rosely Road. Upon arrival, firefighters found a fairly large area of grassland on fire.
Using a brush truck, one pumper, and firefighters with rigs, they were able to circle around and extinguish the blaze despite the 30- to 40-mph winds that initially helped the fire travel from the original site and continued to threaten its spread.
After extinguishing the fire, CFD crews continued to stay on-scene to monitor the area, laying down more water to ensure a flare-up wouldn't occur and to thoroughly wet down any hot spots. According to CFD spokesman Tom Bauer, about three acres were burned.
"With the wind and as dry as it is, it was important to get it extinguished right away so it didn't get out any farther," Bauer said.
Bauer said the cause of the was determined to be an outside fire that picked up some embers and spread due to the wind.
"That fire actually jumped from where they were burning about 40 feet into the field [above P/M National]," Bauer said. "With the wind and those conditions, a fire can travel long distances."
Bauer said while some CFD members and equipment were en route to the first fire on Grotzinger Road, a second call came in and firefighters were dispatched to Morgan AM&T on Hall Avenue for a report of a smokestack on fire. Upon arrival, firefighters found the stack on fire, along with a dust collector unit (baghouse). They had to drag some hose inside the building to access the stack and the baghouse, and from there were able to extinguish the fires in both locations. Bauer said CFD personnel proceeded to empty the dust collector, as there were still a number of embers and hot spots, and continued to stay on-scene for cleanup activities.
Bauer said damage was confined to the stack and the dust collector. The estimated dollar amount of damage is unknown at this time and the cause of the fire is still under investigation.