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Firefighters battle junk yard blaze
Vehicles, debris burns for hours
040507 FIRE 6Web
Firefighters respond to call Thursday afternoon to blaze at Stubbs Metal Works

Stubbs Metals fire

Video of fire at Stubbs Metals

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Black smoke rolled across the sky Thursday evening as a mountain of debris burned at Stubbs Metals and     Wrecking Yard off U.S. 301 South.
    The cause of the fire is yet unknown, and firefighters were unavailable for comment Thursday evening as they were still fighting the blaze. Within a couple hours firefighters from Statesboro, Register and Nevils fire departments reduced the roiling flames and billowing clouds of black smoke, but the huge pile of wrecked cars and trucks, aluminum, and other debris was still burning and smoking in spots.
    Georgia State Patrol troopers and Bulloch County Sheriff's deputies closed off a section of U.S. 301 South Thursday evening to allow heavy equipment and fire trucks to navigate the area without being hampered by traffic. Firefighters continually called for more water as they dumped tanker after tanker on the fire. They used foam to contain the blaze as well.
    Bulldozers and back hoes were brought in to help move the debris so firefighters could ensure the flames and hotspots were contained.
    Teresa Mixon, who works at the wrecking yard and whose fiance Jeff Stubbs owns the business, said she was not sure how the fire started.
    The flames originated in an area where a welding torch was located, she said. The torch, which Stubbs and occasional customers used to cut metal, also used oxygen tanks that could have ignited, she said.
    Stubbs tried to put the flames out and carried some burning debris to a pond nearby, using a bulldozer, she said. However, the burning debris ignited some grass, and with dry conditions the blaze spread back to the mountain of junked cars, aluminum windows and other refuse, she said.
    As the black smoke filled the air and wafted across the 27-acre junk yard and over the busy highway, firefighters spewed water over the flames and called "for all available manpower" to report to the scene, according to an unidentified fire department employee speaking over the radio.
    A special command was set up to handle the potentially dangerous situation. "There could be some gas in the car's tanks," Mixon said.
    The initial call regarding the fire was dispatched by Bulloch Central 911 around 5:20 p.m., and at 8:30 p.m. firefighters were still busy battling the blaze. Around 7:30 p.m., an unidentified firefighter told a Bulloch Central 911 dispatcher via radio firefighters expected to be at the scene "for three or four more hours."
    The junk yard, filled with piles of assorted debris, was crowded with fire engines and rescue units, as well as an ambulance waiting nearby in case of injury or illness. Mixon said the burning pile also contained wooden pallets and piles of tires, and that flames could be hidden beneath the remaining debris even after firefighters doused the visible flames.
    Shortly after 8 p.m, the American Red Cross arrived with food and drinks for the firefighters, according to information from 911 dispatchers.
    "The American Red Cross is providing emergency assistance to the fire departments so they can keep working to contain the fire," said disaster volunteer and Red Cross board member Cindy Nevil. "We're providing water and snacks so they won't get dehydrated and worn out."
    Around 9 p.m., workers with bulldozers and backhoes were moving piles of debris, with firefighters searching for hot spots to make sure the fire was totally extinguished. Firefighters and others worked until late in the evening to ensure the fire was contained.
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