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Three-alarm Fire at International Paper Facility

Kent, Washington, USA 10 July 2015 -- (From the Kent Reporter) -- It took a three-alarm fire response and nearly 75 firefighters on Wednesday to battle a large pile of recycling paper at the International Paper Co. facility in Kent.

Firefighters from the Kent Fire Department Regional Fire Authority were initially dispatched at 1:10 p.m. to what was described as a large cardboard fire, according to a Kent Fire Department media release.

When firefighters arrived at the facility, they found an area of approximately one-half acre of burning paper and cardboard. Embers from the initial fire had also started fires in several large bundles of paper throughout the parking lot. The smoke made visibility difficult.

At one point the fire spread to the interior of the recycling company building. This fire was quickly extinguished and firefighters were placed above the roof of the building using ladder trucks to ensure that embers did not start more fires on that or other buildings in the immediate area.

After trying to soak the pile down with large quantities of water while other firefighters extinguished the smaller fires, diesel front-loaders were brought in to pull the pile of paper products apart where it could be extinguished in small amounts.

The incident was raised to three alarms and one Seattle Task Force in order to have sufficient firefighters able to rotate between fighting the fires and getting rehydrated due to the high air temperatures. Firefighters and support personnel from Tukwila, Seattle, Zone 3 Explorers, Medic One, Valley Regional Fire Authority, Renton and Skyway also responded.

The higher the number of alarms, the bigger the fire and more firefighters are needed. About 75 firefighters responded to the fire based on the needs of fighting the fire and having sufficient numbers of resources ready to replace them as they rotated out for rehab, said Kyle Ohashi, spokesman for the Kent Fire Department.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation. Nobody was injured. No damage estimates have been released.


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