Huge fire at Aiken County landfill

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August 9, 2007

AIKEN, S.C.---Aiken County fire crews contained a huge blaze at the landfill on Connector Road in Graniteville this afternoon.

Aiken County Solid Waste Supervisor Dave Eger told News 12 that the fire started around 3 o'clock this afternoon, when someone dropped off a load of shingles and it spontaneously combusted due to the heat.

"I saw some roofing material in that area, and it has the tendency to get very hot in the sun, and most likely that's where it started," he said.

Dispatch told News 12 during the peak of the blaze that "the whole top of the fill is on fire."

Additional fire trucks were called to the scene. Due to the amount of equipment firefighters have had to bring into the area, volunteer firefighters had to park further away, at the weigh station.

In all, the fire spread out to about eight acres, with the wind spreading the heat.

Eger says this same thing happened a few years ago, and that it's not uncommon for landfills to catch fire.

Landfill fires are at the worst across the country between the months of March and August.

The heat makes conditions even tougher for firefighters.

"It's not the best condition for us with the heat to content with and the fire and all, but we try to be cautious," said Graniteville fire chief Phil Napier.

The firefighters took frequent breaks, sat in air-conditioned trucks as often as they could, and did their best to stay hydrated.

Aiken County, Langley and the Graniteville Volunteer Fire Department all responded to the fire. Fortunately, there were no injuries, and no one had to be treated for heat exhaustion.

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