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The Six-Hour Mulch Pile Fire

Discussion in 'Photojournalism, Candids and Street Photography' started by eng45ine, Oct 30, 2005.

  1. eng45ine


    May 11, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    I arrived at work today, put my gear on the engine and began my vehicle check...15 minutes into the shift, we were toned out for some wood chips on fire. As we were enroute, the dispatcher said that our police were on the scene reporting that the pile of wood chips was bigger than the building. Needless to say, the alarm was elevated to a 2-11 alarm and we used over 1.2 million gallons of water to extinguish the fire. Oh, by the way, that's "little 'ol me in the second row on the right and on the bottom left image as well". The photographer (Larry Shapiro) does a great job, along with his sister. Take a look at the rest of their website. http://www.shapirophotography.net/Fires update Oct 05 Addison 2.htm
  2. This was just like being there. Fun to see how you fireman work on a blaze such as this. I'm sure it wasn't easy.
  3. eng45ine


    May 11, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    Actually Gordon, it was just a big water carnival. We shot water onto this huge pile of mulch for several hours plus extinguished a quarter-million dollar chipper. After the scene was safe, we sent a couple of machine operators up onto the pile to break it up so our water streams could penetrate the mulch better. It was a very good way to pass the morning away. We, luckily, did watch the second half of the Bears game....the first place Bears, that is!!!:Shocked:
  4. PGB


    Jan 25, 2005
    Water Carnival eh? Sounds like fun. That is some nice fire trucks.

    That site is also very good. Good pictures of you too Frank.

    Thanks for sharing,
  5. eng45ine


    May 11, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    Thanks for checking the images out, Patrick. There was definately millions of dollars in fire apparatus lining the streets yesterday, that's for sure. And as for the picture of me...I definately don't photography well at all.:frown:
  6. dbirdsong

    dbirdsong Guest

    I wouldn't brag to much about yesterday's game.. they had to go to over time to beat the Detroit Kitty Cats... :smile:
  7. Gale


    Jan 26, 2005
    Viera Fl
    Wow Frank,
    Wheres the weenies and marshmellows..

    Sure looks like one hot fire.

    The amount of water is incredible.

    Couldn't look at these earlier. On dial-up, I couldn't get it to load.

    The DSL line is back up now.

    Thanks for sharing and thank all of you for what you guys do for us.

    Great images.
  8. eng45ine


    May 11, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    Dave, I could not have stated it better myself! Our Chicago Bears Football team has the dubious reputation of being "the best of the worst in the NL north division". I'm soooooo embaressed!!!:mad: 
  9. Frank
    Neat shots but I have a question. Why use 1.2 million gallons of water on a mulch pile? what was at risk?
    As you can probably tell I know NOTHING of such things :^)
  10. eng45ine


    May 11, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    Hi Dave,

    I guess that you have a good question and the best way for me to answer is that due to spontaneous combustion potential (which caused the initial fire to start) the fire department having responsibility for protection of this property wanted to completely soak the pile to reduce, or even eliminate, the possiblity of a re-kindle that could possibly spread into their buildings and vehicles. Their fire prevention bureau has had issues with the company's housekeeping and how large they let their mulch piles get. Their decision to totally soak the pile with over one million gallons of water was an effort to remove the risk of another fire that could become a conflagration which could wipe out all of their buildings, vehicles and risk the lives of the firefighters working the fire. By soaking the pile, it will also make it safer for their machine operators to work the pile with bulldozers to separate the large pile into several smaller piles which may be easier to manage.
  11. thanks for the explanation Frank. I did not know there was that much potential for loss. Figured the pile would just smolder.
  12. Very cool series of shots, When I was goign to collge I worked for a landscapers and one of these piles seemed to spotaneously combust one day quite wild.
  13. eng45ine


    May 11, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    Hey Mike...long time!

    This fire was pretty cool looking because of how the flames swirled in the wind, definately different than flames from ordinary combustables. It didn't take much to extinguish the flames, but it sure needed plenty of water to lower the temperature of the pile. I'm guessing the owner of the company won't need much coaxing to keep the piles smaller in the future.
  14. ... but who are all the studs in the bottom row left!!!?? *LOL* Calendar boys for sure :wink: Being the controlled pyro that I am, that would be one HUMUNGOUS fire if it'd gotten out of control! Tell Larry I think he did a great job on these photos.... good storyboard.
  15. eng45ine


    May 11, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    Bottom left????? Ah...just me and the boys!!! After six hours, we were a bit punchy and decided to pose for the camera.
  16. patrickh


    May 4, 2005
    Thousand Oaks

    You guys are to be commended for the vital work you do. It may have just been a pile of sawdust, but obviously it could easily have become something far more dangerous without the skill you firement bring to even the smallest job. I know you are proud of what you do and we are all grateful for the time and effort you put in to be ther for us and bail us out. Thanks

    The pics are also great.
  17. eng45ine


    May 11, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    Thanks so much for the very kind words...much appreciated.
  18. Terrific pictures, Frank. Even though it wasn't a raging fire, you guys looked efficient, brave, and totally in control. The world has a much better idea of what you firefighters are about since 9-11.

    I hope you get to submit a bill for the cost of the action, Frank. No better way to get a corporation's attention than to hit their bottom line. In fact, there' no other way.
  19. eng45ine


    May 11, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    That is a very interesting though, Frank. Although the business owner won't get a bill, or even a fine, for the fire...he did lose a $250K chipper that was next to the mulch pile. I'm thinking that he wished that he had kept the pile smaller!
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