Junkyard engulfed in flames for 7 hours

T-R photos by Lana Bradstream — A Marshalltown Firefighter uses a truck to spray water onto a large fire at Critchfield Auto Salvage on Thursday. Shortly after the fire broke around noon, three trucks had responded to contain the flames to the property. No structures were endangered and no injuries were reported.

A giant plume of black smoke filled the sky Thursday on the east side of Marshalltown as a fire broke out at 2000 E. Nevada St. Burning tires and vehicles caused most of the smoke.

Marshalltown Police Capt. Chris Jones said the fire began at about 11:20 a.m. in a six-acre junkyard owned by Critchfield Auto Salvage.

“Workers were trying to dismantle a metal container and some sparks were created which ignited brush,” he said. “It was very windy and dry, but the fire has been contained.”

The Marshalltown Fire Department initially responded with three trucks. Deputy Fire Chief Christopher Cross said by the time the department arrived, the fire was well-involved.

The dry conditions, strong winds, various debris and brush, along with poor access complicated the incident, Cross said. After access to water and attack positions were established, the Marshalltown Fire Department requested aid from other agencies.

A Thursday fire broke out on property belonging to Critchfield Auto Salvage, near 18th Avenue, creating a large amount of black smoke on the east side of Marshalltown The dry conditions and strong winds created a situation in which numerous fire departments responded. It was eventually contained to the property.

Rhonda Braudis, the 911 communications director for Marshall County Communications Commission said numerous county agencies responded.

“Marshalltown received a lot of mutual aid,” Braudis said.

Eight communities, 30 firefighters, 15 pieces of equipment and the majority of off-duty MFD personnel battled the blaze for seven hours. Ten fire departments – Albion, Clemens, Conrad, Gilman, Green Mountain, Laurel, LeGrand, Melbourne, State Center and Beaman – aided in the fire suppression. UnityPoint, the Red Cross, the Salvation Army and Marshall County Emergency Management assisted with logistical support. The Marshalltown Police Department recorded the fire with a drone.

Jones said firefighters spent quite a few hours finding the hot spots.

No structures were in danger and there were no injuries.

Contact Lana Bradstream at lbradstream@timesrepublican.com.


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