Two-alarm fire at Gaston’s Tree Debris Recycling facility extinguished

Loading Video…

This browser does not support the Video element.

Crews contain mulch fire in Clearwater

Justin Matthews reports

Close to 70 firefighters from St. Petersburg, Pinellas Park, and Largo Fire Rescue fought to contain a mulch fire at Gaston’s Tree Debris Recycling facility near Ulmerton Road and 34th Street North on Saturday.

The initial call about smoke came in around 2 p.m., and firefighters on the scene upgraded it to a "two-alarm" fire.

"Sometimes these do catch on fire. Due to the lack of rain, the dry and hot weather conditions, this is a problem for us, but so far, we are able to keep everything contained," said Chief Thomas Layfield from Pinellas Park Fire Rescue.

Containing the fire wasn’t easy.

Firefighters used several hoses and cranes to get water on flames that were hard for crews to get to.

READ: Woman seriously injured in St. Pete road rage shooting, police say

"The problem is, the reach and the terrain is not allowing us to get close enough, so we’re basically just cutting it off and going to let it burn out," Chief Layfield said.

Time was on the fire crews’ side because the fire did not threaten any homes or nearby businesses.

"We are taking it very slowly. The last thing we want to do is have anybody hurt," said Chief Layfield.

READ: USF adds new vessel to Florida's Institute of Oceanography’s fleet

Several ambulances were at the scene on standby just in case firefighters got hurt.

"Triple-digit heat index, the fact that our firefighters are wearing heavyset smoke gear, the challenges to keep him hydrated, keep him fed, so we are monitoring them, and making sure that we are taking care of our personnel," said Chief Layfield.

The fire was contained by 5 p.m., and there was no threat to homes or businesses.