Large mulch fire clouds skies over Maryland Heights

MARYLAND HEIGHTS, Mo. - Just before 2 p.m. Wednesday, the Maryland Heights Fire Department responded to a large mulch fire at St. Louis Composting.

According to Maryland Heights Fire Chief Steve Olshwanger, the pile of mulch was about 30 to 40 feet tall and the fire was deep-seeded.

Cheif Olshwanger said he called in Creve Coeur, Pattonville, Monarch, and Overland fire departments for backup. West County EMS & Fire later showed up to fly its drone over the fire to get a better idea of how large it was.

A big concern initially was the methane gas pipes running under the mulch.

"We just didn't want the fire to hit the piping above ground shutoffs," said Chief Olshwanger. "We protected that right away and there were no issues there."

Another challenge he said was the fact that there were no fire hydrants on the site, so firefighters had to hook up long fire hoses to the bring water close enough to the fire.

The fire chief said careless smoking is thought to have caused the fire.