Lowndes County firefighters spend hours battling scrapyard fire through high winds and black smoke

COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) – Tuesday’s high winds made things difficult for firefighters working to put out a large fire in a Columbus scrapyard.

Lowndes County Fire Coordinator Neal Austin says they were actually counting on the day’s heavy rain to put the fire out completely.

The black smoke from the fire was thick enough to cover up the sun and make it difficult for drivers to see.

“This is acrid, nasty smoke coming from these polycarbonates,” says Austin. “It does look real bad, it’s causing some traffic issues.”

Lowndes County firefighters spent close to six hours fighting the large blaze after responding to Appliances Plus in Columbus at around 9:45 a.m.

“Upon arrival, we found two large piles of scrap appliances and both of those were on fire along with some cargo container 18-wheeler trailers,” Austin says.

Austin says crews were working on a piece of equipment when sparks ignited the fire.

“[It was] a torch or a welder and some of the sparks got into the scrap pile, which contained appliance insulation,” he says. “That’s what’s producing this large amount of black smoke.”

The bridge in front of Appliances Plus on MS-182 was shut down as firefighters worked to knock down the flames.

“Wind is playing a huge factor for us right now,” Austin said at the scene. “The wind is picking up, so we’re having issues with that also.”

Eight volunteer firefighters across three districts were brought in to contain the fire.

“No injuries,” Austin says. “We’re using unmanned monitors as well as hose streams to fight the fire.”

Fire crews were able to stop the fire from spreading to the business itself.

Austin says fire crews had the blaze completely under control just before 1 p.m. They also reopened the bridge during that time.

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