Limited water supply forces crews to bring in tanks to fight fir - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Limited water supply forces crews to bring in tanks to fight fire at Southern Metals Recycling

Emergency crews are battling a fire at Southern Metals Recycling Friday afternoon. (Source: Bat. Chief Mike Stophel) Emergency crews are battling a fire at Southern Metals Recycling Friday afternoon. (Source: Bat. Chief Mike Stophel)
The fire was first reported around 3:45 p.m. (Source: WECT) The fire was first reported around 3:45 p.m. (Source: WECT)
NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) -

Units from the Wilmington Fire Department assisted the New Hanover County Fire Department with a large fire at Southern Metals Recycling Friday.

Fire officials said they got the call around 4:15 p.m. that a 40-foot high pile of scrap metal was on fire at the facility, located in the 2900 block of US 421.

Firefighters cleared from the scene at around 8:30 p.m.

Firefighters were using hydrants to put water on the blaze, but because of a limited supply had switch over to tanker trucks.

"The 421 corridor is our biggest industrial corridor in New Hanover County," said Deputy Fire Marshal Ray Griswold. "It has an old system called the Flemington System it is a very poor system, Friday's fire we maxed it out." 

Crews quickly used 40,000 gallons of water from the system's 50,000 gallon tank. According to Mike McGill, with the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority, the tank is meant to supply drinking water, not fight large fires.

"We had to remind them of the water they were pulling out of the system and that it could drain the entire system and they just moved forward with their plans to truck in water," explained McGill. He said the water supply capacity is known, and fire plans take it into consideration. 

The water system resupplies itself, but not as quickly as is needed to fight fires. McGill said people in the community did not lose their water system during the fire.

According to WFD Assistant Fire Chief Jon Mason, approximately 130,000 gallons of water was used to extinguish the blaze. About 90,000 gallons of that water was pumped onto the fire through a coordinated water shuttle operation involving several water tanker trucks.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

No injuries were reported.

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