GRANITE CITY, Ill. – A massive fire at a recycling plant in Granite City had Firefighters calling for back up from around the region. It is not very common that you get firefighters from both sides of the Mississippi river helping on one scene. But, they’re always willing to do it. That’s what mutual aid is all about.
The fire at Total Metal Recycling in Granite City required a lot of manpower. Officials say they had at least 75 firefighters out here from 15 different departments from Illinois and Missouri. Some of them came from volunteer fire departments.
“It was probably around 4:30pm Tuesday I noticed a black flame of smoke in the area. I spoke to one of their commanders who said, ‘Get ready. We’re going to institute a mutual aid agreement with the county departments,’” explains Chief Keith Goldstein of the Riverview Fire Protection District.
Some of those firefighters we’re covering back at the Granite City fire station in case other calls for help came in. Others were out fighting the blaze which took about eight hours to put out. Along with the heat given off by the fire, firefighters were dealing with the warm temps outside so they were swapping out crews every ten minutes.
It was a massive effort that continued past midnight for some as they watched for hotspots.
“Our professional personnel, they shift change in the morning so they were out most of the night doing this. The volunteers have to deal with that also because they have jobs they have to get you in the morning. We have to rotate those personnel, not only because environmental issues, but they also have to have time to get to their other jobs,” says David Klee, Madison Fire Department Assistant Chief.
The Illinois Fire Marshal says the cause of this fire is still unclear.