Weekend fires keep personnel very busy

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 6, 2002

Suffolk firefighters have spent much of the weekend battling blazes, one of which occurred at the John C. Holland landfill on Nansemond Parkway.

Just after 7 p.m. Friday, firefighters found that some 100 yards were ablaze at the landfill. Units from Chuckatuck, Driver and Carrolton assisted in containing the fire well after midnight. Heavy equipment was used to separate debris from the items that were already consumed. Construction debris is mostly discarded at the Holland landfill.

The preliminary investigation reveals that the fire’s culprit was likely an accident. No physical injuries were reported. Capt. Jim Judkins, spokesman for the Suffolk Fire Department, said the fire was labor intensive.

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This could also be said of firefighters’ efforts in Whaleyville in the 3300 block of Desert Road. Officials made a return trip Friday around 7:30 p.m. to some 60 acres of woodland – after responding to an initial call on Tuesday. Another 20 acres was found burning, for which wind was to blame, explained Judkins.

He said Saturday that both fires were &uot;pretty well involved,&uot; and that the Department of Forestry is continuing to work with firefighters in plowing a line around the woodland blaze to prevent it from spreading. A heavy rain will ultimately be the best remedy to douse the woodland fire, but efforts are presently concentrated on removing the fuel from the fire.

The hot temperatures have also worked against firefighting efforts, causing the fire to continue smoldering for several days.

Firefighters are prepared to continue dealing with flare-ups and hot spots. Because the Whaleyville fire is so distant, hauling water has made fighting the blaze even more laborious.

Approximately 50 firefighters were on scene between the two fires.

The Holland landfill fire did not involve any tires, as was the case two weeks ago when a blaze consumed several hundred tires at the Southeastern Public Services Authority (SPSA) landfill’s recycling facility. A fire just hours later consumed tires at Suffolk Used Auto Parts on Portsmouth Boulevard.

Arson was deemed the culprit in both of these fires.