COMBINED LOCKS, WI (OnFocus) – Wood County MABAS division 116 assisted with a large fire operation this weekend in the Village of Combined Locks, Wisconsin. Multiple fire and related Emergency Services were activated to battle the large fire, which took place at 100 Prospect Street.
Combined Locks Fire & Rescue Fire Chief Ken Wiedenbauer issued the following release about the incident:
On Friday, July 8 at approximately 10:25 AM, Combined Locks Fire and Rescue, Buchanan Fire and Rescue, Outagamie County Sheriff’s Deputies as well as Kaukauna Ambulance were dispatched to Warehouse Specialists located at 100 Prospect Street in the village of Combined Locks for a report of a fire involving paper pulp bales.
Initial reports indicated that all occupants of the business had self evacuated and nobody was left inside.
On arrival of the first arriving engine from Combined Locks, heavy smoke was seen from the warehouse loading dock area and heavy fire had already breached the roof. A water supply was secured and hose lines were deployed in an effort to get an initial knock down on the fire but due to safety concerns with the possibility of stacked burning bales falling on firefighters, crews were not able to make it all the way into the structure.
Fire doors that separate the partitions inside of the warehouse were operational and in the closed position. These doors allow the building to essentially be “compartmentalized” as long as they don’t suffer catastrophic failure from heat. ￼
Additional resources from nearby departments were immediately requested by incident command on scene. Kimberly, Little Chute and Harrison Departments were included with that request.
Due to the size of the building, contents and fuel load, the decision was made to escalate the situation utilizing MABAS (Mutual Aid Box Alarm System). Activating this system brought a very large amount of preplanned resources to the scene quickly.
Additionally, the municipal water system was not able to keep up with the water demand on scene. A tender strike force was requested to the scene. This involved multiple counties. A fill site was set up at Kimberly Boat Launch at Sunset Park. Water was then shuttled via tenders to the scene and unloaded into portable tanks. Engines on scene were then utilizing this in addition to municipal water hydrants. While the Fox River is directly behind the warehouse, several sets of railroad tracks, a very narrow service road and a drop off on the river bank made it not possible to access it with a fire engine to pump water up to the other engines. This is why the Kimberly site was chosen.
The fire doors did their job by preventing the spread of the fire even further. Unmanned master streams were deployed to keep the fire doors and fire wall cool to prevent the fire from spreading to unaffected areas of the building. Ladder trucks from Kaukauna, Little Chute and Appleton were used to flow water through the roof where the fire had already breached in an attempt to cool the burning area. Hand lines and crews were also deployed to protect residential structures to the east of the warehouse.
Excavators were called in to begin overhaul to separate the burning bales, pull walls down and allow for fire crews on scene to check for extension to the next warehouse partition on the west side of the fire door and wall.
Additional interdivisional strike teams for engines and tenders were requested for the overnight hours to continue suppression work which allowed the initial responding crews to go home and rest before being recalled the next morning. Crews were called from counties as far away as Door, Sheboygan and Wood.
At any given time, we had approximately 9 engines, 25 tankers (split on each side of the scene), 3 ladder trucks and many more support units on scene. A rough estimate is approximately 67 departments came to our aid in one way or another.
This will be a multi-day event with Fire crews working to pull everything apart and access areas that continue to burn in the effected areas.
As the event progresses, Chief Wiedenbauer will be meeting with WSI employees to better understand the events leading up to and possible causes of the fire.
At this time, it does not appear suspicious or intentional.
A dollar amount of the loss (including building and contents) is not readily available.
There were no injuries sustained to civilians or firefighters during this event.
We’d like to thank each department that came to assist us, and those who have yet to come. Without your quick response, this event could have ended much worse. The amount of professionalism and teamwork that was displayed yesterday morning through now is inspiring. Career and volunteer departments were able to seamlessly integrate to achieve the best possible outcome which was preventing the spread further into the building and protecting structures nearby. An amended release will go out when all departments have been inventoried.
Additionally, we’d like to extend our gratitude to area businesses who opened their doors to us for food, shelter and restrooms. These include Milltown Bar, Kamps Bar, Festival Foods and Kwik Trip. Your gestures will not be forgotten.
Lastly, but certainly not least, we would like to say thank-you to our dispatchers at Outagamie County 911. The amount of work they put in with keeping up with the ever growing list of needs from the incident commander was huge. They never missed a beat.
We welcome your stories! Contact us at [email protected]!