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5 Fire Departments Battle Paper Blaze at US Gypsum

Port Clinton, Ohio, USA 26 September 2016 -- (From the News Herald) -- Nearly 40 firefighters from five area departments battled a fire in the paper mill yard at the U.S. Gypsum facility that burned for 18 hours Sunday, according to Port Clinton Fire Chief Kent Johnson. No injuries were reported.

Johnson said Monday that containing the fire was easy as firefighters set up a perimeter, but extinguishing the blaze was a challenge as crews were forced to take apart each of the engulfed paper bales in order to flood the burning bales and put out the fire.

"It was methodical," Johnson said about extinguishing the flame. "We had to pull every individual bale apart with a front loader and break them down to flood the fire."

Johnson said the cause of the fire, which became engulfed around noon Sunday, has not yet determined.

"Once it starts, it spreads very quickly," Johnson said.

Crews just finished putting out the paper fire around 6 a.m. Monday, he said.

After finally extinguishing the blaze, Johnson said the department will head back to the scene to continue an investigation. He said this is not the first time paper bales have caught fire at the plant.

"It seems to happen about once every 10 years for whatever reason," Johnson said.

Assisting Port Clinton Fire were Portage Fire, Danbury Township Fire, Catawaba Island Fire, Erie Township and North Central EMS.

Additional manpower was on call at area departments during the blaze.


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