Lessons Implemented At Wednesday's Tire Fire From Bowser Avenue Tire Fire

By John W. Davis

September 9, 2010 Updated Sep 9, 2010 at 10:23 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) - Wednesday's tire fire on Moeller Road conjured up similar thoughts of the Bowser Avenue tire fire in 1997.

That facility was destroyed but firefighters said lessons learned then were put to good use Wednesday.

When the black plume of smoke began billowing Wednesday afternoon at Mid-American Steel scrap yard on Moeller Road many residents thought back to the Bowser Avenue inferno, an eerily similar fire that took days to put out in 1997.

Both were tire fires on the city's southeast side but ended with drastically different outcomes.

"We used heavy equipment to separate the piles to be able to get every area so their would be no re-ignition," said Fort Wayne Assistant Fire Chief Amy Biggs.

Attached to this article is a video with 13-year-old images of the Bowser tire fire which covered Fort Wayne with smoke for days.

During that inferno, the indoor tire facility practically turned into a rubber oven, which made it an extremely hard fire to douse.

The indoor fire made the burning mounds of tires inaccessible, which made separating tires impossible.

The outcome... nothing but rubble.

"To able to separate those materials as quickly as possible definitely prevents it from continuing to burn and that's one fact that we took away from Bowser Street fire that we applied in this technology to be able to break that apart as efficiently as possible to get to the set of the fire and minimize the extent of the burning materials," said Biggs.

Wednesday's fire was put out in about an hour.

"It made it very easy for us to attack the fire and get the seat much more quickly than the Bowser Street fire because this was outside versus inside a building," said Biggs.

A special cooling foam is also being credited with helping to quickly put out the fire.

However, Fort Wayne firefighters reported that they did not have enough foam to put out the fire by themselves.

New Haven - Adams Townships and Southwest fire departments

Meanwhile, the Fort Wayne Fire Department is anxiously awaiting three new foam trailers that were coincidentally approved prior to Wednesday's tire fire.

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