Burning Rubber: Officials investigating tire fire - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Burning Rubber: Officials investigating tire fire

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Story by Paul Shahen
Eyewitness News Reporter

HAMILTON COUNTY, TN. (WRCB)-- Firefighters are still fighting a fire that started after midnight, just north of Soddy-Daisy.

Officials say it's all too suspicious, because, they responded to a fire there just two weeks ago.

It's not small, and it's not going to be easy. There's a large amount of shredded tires still burning now.

Firefighters are shaking their heads because all early signs point to arson.

"It isn't just coincidence we think that a fire would start in this area, all these tires would be on fire, two weeks apart," says Bill Tittle with Hamilton County EMS.

Black smoke billows over the same building that burned to the ground just two weeks ago.

What November's fire didn't demolish, Friday's did. By the time Sale Creek firefighters got to the abandoned flee market, flames had engulfed the only building left.

"It only took but 5-10 minutes for that whole building to come down there," says Tittle.

First responders quickly noticed the building was the least of their worries.

Behind it was a burning stretch of shredded tires, 400 hundred feet long, 50 feet wide, and 12 feet high, emitting toxic fumes and it's still burning.

Bill Tittle with Hamilton County Emergency Services says the priority is making sure the elementary school nearby was safe for the kids.

"The fire department monitored all the air in the classrooms and halls. There's no problem inside the school at this time, and we'll continue to monitor that as long as the children are in there," says Tittle.

Tittle is advising neighbors to avoid the smoke if you can.

The whole situation has local resident Alex Hughes baffled.

"I don't know, just wondering why. It's pointless, just a bunch of old places," says Hughes.

Officials say the safest and quickest way to put the tire fire out is using hundreds of gallons of foam, but it's not cheap, every five gallons costs more than $100.

"It's going to take a monumental effort, a lot of foam, thousands of dollars worth of foam, to get this fire out," says Tittle.

Tittle says they've started putting out the tire fire with foam.

They're getting loads of it shipped in from Georgia and he says this could take days to put out.

He says the investigation is still ongoing, but if someone is responsible, they will find out and hold them financially accountable.  

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