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Fire at Smithfield Scrap Metal Yard Continues to Spread

Posted April 30, 2007
Updated May 1, 2007

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— Crews are monitoring a fire that started Monday at a scrap metal yard in Smithfield. Officials said Tuesday that the fire had spread to the back section of the Atlantic Scrap and Processing plant, but crews said they will let the blaze burn itself out.

Meanwhile, the state Highway Patrol said U.S. Highway 301 between Brogden Road and Packing Plant Road had been re-opened. The road was closed due to poor visibility caused by heavy smoke from the plant on Wal Pat Road.

"We're in a defensive mode and just trying to protect the property around it," said Patrick Harris, of the Smithfield Fire Department.

Smithfield officials said there were no air-quality concerns as crews from 14 fire departments battled the flames at the plant.

Johnston County officials issued a voluntary water-conservation order for the entire county Monday as crews battled the flames. Officials said the order may remain in effect through mid-week.

The fire started in scrap metal in the yard about 4:15 p.m. Monday, and a passer-by who saw the flames called 911 dispatchers, Smithfield emergency officials said. Another fire ignited on a conveyor belt nearby shortly afterward.

Smithfield Town Manager Pete Connet said there were no air- or water-quality concerns resulting from the smoke or water runoff. The smoke cloud lifted up and out from the area around the fire Monday evening, with weather conditions helping the situation, Connet said.

Small explosions were heard near the scene of the fires early Monday evening. Connet said no hazardous materials were known to be on site, and the explosions could have come from burning rubber or foil.

There were no reports of injuries resulting from the fires. No evacuations were needed, Connet said.

Monday’s blazes were the second time that crews have fought flames at the Atlantic Scrap Metal yard in the past six months. A fire burned more than 20 hours in October 2006, and 65 firefighters from 11 departments battled it. No one was hurt.

36 Comments

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  • Doctor Dataclerk May 1, 2007

    Most people who are quick to condem the owners of this business and want them to pay for everything, fire, police, inconvenience, etc., are the same people who would not contribute one dime to the local fire department even if they had put out a fire at their home in the past. It was probably an accident and if it could have been avoided it would have been.

  • 2alegal May 1, 2007

    Hey Rev.....This is not the first time the same has burned....Kinda like the Apex Plant deal.......They were fined.

  • missjohnston04 May 1, 2007

    I live not 1/2 mile from the scrap yard and I feel safe. Who knows maybe a car that was scrapped still had a gas tank & gas in it. Not suppose to happen, but it can. Just thank goodness we have firemen, rescue & police that will & can respond to this type of thing. God bless them all. A Johnston County Girl!

  • Weetie May 1, 2007

    I love Johnston County Too...No place like home!

  • uncwgirl02 May 1, 2007

    Since I work in Smithfield, about a mile from where it's happening, a mandatory evacuation would be nice.

  • browneyedgirl May 1, 2007

    I love Johnston County, :) !!

  • LocalYokel May 1, 2007

    that must look like the set from 'Road Warrior'

  • Love my boys May 1, 2007

    Maybe this is a horrible case of bad luck? Anybody thought of that?

  • spiritwarriorwoman May 1, 2007

    Benson0514 - "Sounds like someone needs to pay for the firefighters time and resources used in this fire....I live in Smithfield and saw lots of stuff being used to douse this fire. How about fines for the scrap yard??? The smoke is horrible and it is not safe."

    Was there negligence involved on the part of the scrap yard? Or was this accidental or spontanteous?

    Plus it's my understanding that the size and spread is being caused by the winds, and that would be considered an act of God.

    God bless.

    Rev. RB

  • 2alegal May 1, 2007

    Sounds like someone needs to pay for the firefighters time and resources used in this fire....I live in Smithfield and saw lots of stuff being used to douse this fire. How about fines for the scrap yard??? The smoke is horrible and it is not safe.

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