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Officials: Response to large Combined Locks warehouse fire a 'multi-day event'

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Posted at 9:26 PM, Jul 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-09 13:02:32-04

COMBINED LOCKS (NBC 26) — According to an update from officials on Saturday, it could take multiple days to fully extinguish a fire at a building in Combined Locks.

Officials have requested a voluntary evacuation for the next several days. At a minimum, officials want residents in the vicinity of the 100 block of Prospect Street to keep their windows and vents closed after the fire call to Warehouse Specialists, according to a news release.

According to an updated statement from Combined Locks Public Safety, multiple agencies were sent to Warehouse Specialists on Friday morning for a report of a fire involving paper pulp bales. Fire crews worked into the night to fight the fire.

Warehouse fire in Combined Locks

Everyone in the building had already evacuated when crews responded. When the first fire engine arrived at the scene, officials said heavy smoke was seen from the warehouse loading dock area and heavy fire had already breached the roof. Firefighters worked to knock down the fire, but due to concerns about the possibility of stacked burning bales falling on firefighters, crews could not make it all the way into the building.

The magnitude of the fire prompted officials to call for assistance from other agencies. Additional resources from nearby departments were immediately requested by the incident command on the scene. Kimberly, Little Chute, and Harrison Departments were included with that request. Crews were also called from counties as far away as Door, Sheboygan, and Wood.

"Additionally, the municipal water system was not able to keep up with the water demand on scene," a statement from Combined Locks Public Safety said. "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."

The building contained fire doors that separate the partitions inside of the warehouse, which prevented the fire from spreading. Combined Locks Public Safety said water was used to keep the fire doors and firewall cool to prevent the fire from spreading to unaffected areas of the building.

"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," said Ken Wiedenbauer, the Fire Chief of Combined Locks Fire & Rescue.

Combined Locks Public Safety said the response to this fire will be a "multi-day event" with fire crews working to pull everything apart and access areas that continue to burn.

At this time, the fire doesn't appear suspicious or intentional. No one was hurt. Fire officials don't currently have an estimated dollar amount on how much damage the fire has cost.