TOWN OF PESHTIGO, Wis. (NBC 26) — The Town of Peshtigo Fire Department says it was dispatched around 3:30 Monday afternoon to a fire at Sal B Scrap Metal Recycling on the edge of Marinette. Chief Mike Folgert says he received a report of fire towards the top of a large pile of scrap metal that's 'hundreds of feet in diameter' and around 30-feet high.
Folgert says crews noticed 'heavy fire involvement' when they arrived with large amounts of black smoke. He says the fire was threatening vehicles nearby that still had intact batteries and fuel tanks. Crews were able to keep nearby warehouse buildings from igniting.
"The threat of that fire moving from where it started and the pile that it originated in to adjacent buildings and other piles of scrap metal was very real," Folgert said.
Due to heavy wind conditions, Folgert says his team battled a rapidly spreading fire. The fire department evacuated several residences located downwind.
"The smoke was right on the edge of Marinette," resident Terry Walker said. "And I get closer and I realize it's the junkyard on fire."
Two ladder trucks dumped water on the pile. Folgert says there was a grass fire downwind that was extinguished. The cause will be investigated.
Folgert is asking residents nearby to keep their windows closed and stay inside. He says it's possible they'll be battling the blaze until Tuesday morning.
On Monday afternoon, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) said all east and westbound lanes on Hwy 64 at CTH T, were closed due to the structure fire.
WisDOT offered drivers some alternate routes: Westbound traffic will exit Hwy 64 at Hwy 180. North on Hwy 180 to Sequin Road. West on Sequin Road to Schacht Road. South on Schacht Road back to Hwy 64. Eastbound traffic will reverse these directions.
According to the company's website, Sal B Scrap Metal Recycling pays money for scrap metal, including "junk vehicles."