Crews Look to Avoid Another Toxic Fire after Tires Reignite in Olmito

6 years 2 months 3 days ago Tuesday, January 17 2017 Jan 17, 2017 January 17, 2017 5:59 PM January 17, 2017 in News

OLMITO - A tire fire in Olmito continues to smolder. It's been a week since it first caught fire.

Brownsville fire crews headed to the site as another cloud of black smoke started billowing from the piles of burned tires on Tuesday.

The piles of shredded tires reached at least 2,000 degrees when they caught fire last week. 

According to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, an investigation back in 2011 at the site revealed there were more than 3.3 million pounds of shredded tires and even more burned tires.

The numbers continued growing over the years, according to the state.

Brownsville Assistant Fire Chief Cesar Pedraza said that equates to plenty of combustible materials that can burn for days.

"The average passenger car tire burns at approximately 2,000 degrees. As it burns, and if it's not burned completely, it releases oil into the ground and that oil, it's a petroleum product, so after the fire is extinguished those temperatures remained and that oil often becomes reignited because of the residual heat. So we were expected some flare ups, we were expecting hot spots and so we have hope for the best and came prepared for the worst," Pedraza said.

The original fire burned for about two days. This time it took firefighters only about an hour to put out the flames.

Fire officials said they will have a fire watch in place, meaning fire crews will drive by the property occasionally to make sure no hot spots get out control. 

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