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AFD, 2 other agencies quell Swift Mill chipper fire

Atmore Firefighter Brandon Barber trains water onto the burning wood chips.

News Staff Writer

Atmore firefighters, aided by two nearby agencies, spent nearly 90 minutes last Friday, June 25, fighting a fire that caused relatively minor damage to a Swift Lumber chipper mill.
Fire reports show that the first of eight AFD vehicles — three fire engines, a ladder truck, a brush truck, another service vehicle and two command vehicles — were dispatched to the lumber yard, located along Swift Mill Road, at 6:59 p.m.
The first AFD crews arrived four minutes later to find flames and gray woodsmoke coming from in and around the “wood silo,” inside which are stored wood chips from the lumber operation across the road from the chipper.
The local units kept coming and were soon joined by a unit from Poarch Creek Fire Department and one from Nokomis Volunteer Fire Department.
Firemen hustled up a catwalk and used two hand lines in an assault on the flames. When the small blaze was brought under control and the smoldering chips dumped to the ground, Swift personnel using a company loader and Bobcat scattered the embers and unburned chips to prevent any flare-up.
An ASAP ambulance remained on standby until the small blaze was finally quelled, around 8:18 p.m., but there were no injuries.
Reports show that the fire began in the “elevator-conveyor belt area” of the chipper and was “totally extinguished” in about an hour. AFD Chief Ron Peebles said the incident is still under investigation.