Texas Tire Dump Catches Fire, EPA Called in to Help
Have you ever wondered, “If tires are made of rubber, can they really catch on fire? Wouldn’t they melt?”
Well, the answers to your questions are yes and yes, and here is the proof.
That is footage from a tire fire that broke out over the weekend in Odessa, Texas, where somebody had stacked a ton of tires in a caliche pit (caliche is a type of rock often used in construction). Local fire fighters had an extremely difficult time containing or extinguishing the flames because, as West Odessa Volunteer Fire Chief Jimmy Ellis told local news outlet the Odessa American, “One of the worst things about this fire is there’s no water to attack it with. We’re about four miles from the nearest fire hydrant.”
On top of that, we talked before on The News Wheel about how dangerous tire fires can be, back when a giant tire dump caught fire near Madrid. Burning tires release horrifically toxic smoke, and can continue burning for months or even years (depending on the type of fire) as the tire continues burning on the inside, despite the outside being extinguished.
The Odessa fire was complicated by an inability to get close to the fire thanks to its location in the pit. Ellis said, “We haven’t even been able to get down in the pit where it started because it’s so hot you can’t get down in that pit. The rubber just stays hot and it will adhere to your boots and the bunker gear.”
The good news in Odessa is that the tire fire was eventually put out, thanks to the work of the fire volunteers and responders from the EPA. However, there is still cleanup, the question of how the fire started, and a reminder to us all that burning tires is seriously bad news.