On heels of Upshur County blaze, environmental dangers of scrap tire fires explained by expert

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Published: Aug. 24, 2022 at 4:53 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 24, 2022 at 7:02 PM CDT
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LONGVIEW, Texas (KLTV) - A massive tire fire in Big Sandy drew in a small army of responders to contain it Tuesday night.

It happened on Private Road 3390, off of Almond Road, north of Highway 80 between Big Sandy and Gilmer.

Fire crews arrived to a private area off of Almond Road to see flames reaching the treetops.

A tire fire; something that Stephen McLemore of ARK-LA-TEX Tire Processing is trying to bring public awareness to.

“We’re actually permitted through the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. This is a very serious environmental issue. In tire fires you’ll see a thick dark plume of smoke. This plume of smoke can contain cyanide, carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide, volatile organic compounds going into the air,” McLemore says.

The private road is in a remote area and all agencies had to bring their own water to fight it. And a small army of agencies showed up.

Firefighters responded from Gilmer, Big Sandy, Pritchett, Gladewater, Diana, West Mountain, and East Mountain responded as well as EMS from Camp and Upshur counties, Upshur County Sheriff’s Office, Texas A&M Forest Service and the Red Cross.

“Very dangerous fire to fight. Water doesn’t typically want to put it out,” McLemore says.

A Pritchett firefighter was overcome by heat exhaustion and taken to a hospital. He was treated and released.

Upshur County is investigating the fire.

We should note it is against TCEQ code to burn scrap tires due to the air pollution it causes.