Witness: Flames from 8-alarm blaze reached 100 feet in height

HOLLY HILL, SC (WCSC) - It appears firefighters have finally won the battle over a massive blaze at an Orangeburg County car crushing plant.

The fire at Don's Car Crushing broke out around 6 a.m. Wednesday in the Town of Holly Hill.

It took dozens of firefighters from as far away as Colleton County and North Charleston to put the fire out. A witness said that flames reached 100 feet high and 50 feet wide.

The fire is 80 to 90 percent contained, according to a state health department spokesman. Crews are using cranes to find more hot spots. Aerial units and 25 tanker trucks are on scene helping to contain the fire. Firefighters may have to stay through the night to monitor hot spots.

It was easy to spot the smoke Wednesday morning as a plume was seen rising into the air, challenging firefighters from at least six departments.

State health officials say the fire started in some pits of waste material, which consist of anything that is not metal on a car that can't be crushed.

With the fire now under control, officials are now concerned about any possible after effects. DHEC officials say that waste material from the fire does not pose a danger to the environment.

As a precaution, health officials are going into a nearby neighborhood to check if anyone is feeling sick from the smoke. So far, no one has reported any problems.

The manager of Don's Car Crushing said that the fire started in a materials pile and also in a compressor room. The fire was first spotted by a janitor who was supposed to clean the buildings.

No one was hurt and there were no evacuations. No cause has been determined no damage estimates have been released.

Firefighters from North Charleston, Berkeley, Orangeburg, Dorchester and Colleton Counties are on scene battling the blaze. Firefighters got water from a retention pond and also from hydrants down the road.

Ladder trucks spent most of the afternoon spraying hot spots.

With the multi-alarm system, the more vehicles and firefighters responding, the higher the alarm designation. With Wednesday eight-alarm fire, the initial dispatch is referred to as a first alarm and is typically the largest. Subsequent alarms are calls for additional units, usually because the fire has grown and additional resources are needed to combat it.

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