UPDATE (12/28 @ 9 p.m.) – It is a hefty price tag fighting the tire fire in Gilboa.
Nicholas County Director of Homeland Security and Emergency Management John McGinnis says the combined cost for the six days of fire suppression is over half a million dollars, and that doesn’t cover manpower or equipment. Who will pay the bill is still unknown.
Several West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection contractors and the Federal Environmental Protection Agency are assisting fire departments from as many as seven counties. Crews from Raleigh, Kanawha, Webster, Greenbrier and Braxton counties have all assisted on scene.
The departments have contained the surface fire to a 75 square foot area, but it could be well over a week before the active fire is completely extinguished.
NICHOLAS COUNTY, WV (WOAY) – Crews are still on scene of a large tire fire in Nicholas County near the outskirts of Summerville.
The call came in around 5 a.m. on Christmas Day. Within the hour, every fire department in Nicholas County had responded.
The fire continues into this week. Crews have been working non-stop to extinguish the fire as quickly as possible.
According to the Nicholas County Emergency Management Director John McGinnis, it’s a slow process to manage the fire in a safe and effective way.
“We’re taking tires with the fire and putting them into a moat full of water,” McGinnis said. “It’s a slow process, we’re gonna be continuously moving water all day.”
More than 1 million tires are estimated to be involved in the fire. According to officials, much of the fire is actually underground and could take four to five more days to be extinguished.
The underground portion of the fire includes a huge stack of tires that goes as far down as 80 feet.
“We’re using the long-reach excavators to reach down and move the tires that are burning underground. We actually took a tire shredder that was 30 feet down, and the metal was bent. So that’s how intense this fire is underground.”
Tire fires are notorious for the fumes given off. The Office of Emergency Management says the fire is not near any major residential areas. And firefighters are using large monitor nozzles that keep them at a safe distance.
There are 10 fire departments on scene shuttling water back and forth to the fire, as well as several contractors from Nicholas and Kanawha County.
The Nicholas County Commission commended the firefighters who have given their time to help with the situation.
“We’re very thankful for Mr. McGinnis for his leadership, and all the firemen from Nicholas and surrounding counties who have come together,” Commission President Garrett Cole said.”
The fire is expected to continue burning throughout much of the rest of this week.