Fire Chief States Cause of Crossett Mill Fire

Update (Nov. 2):

CROSSETT, Ark. - Crossett Fire Chief Bo Higginbotham says the cause of the Oct. 28 fire at the old Georgia Pacific plywood mill was due to debris catching fire while contractors were cutting bolts with torches. 

He says when the debris in the work area caught fire, workers tried to put out the fire using a water hose which actually blew the debris around, spreading the fire. He added that a hydraulic hose nearby also caught fire. 

Fire Chief Higginbotham said that at some point the contractors tried using two large fire extinguishers to put out the flames, which failed as well; causing the flames to spread up the walls. 

It was reported that after the extinguishers failed to smother the flames, the contractors retreated from the building and called the fire department. 

There were no injuries reported. 

Georgia Pacific has continued to clean up debris throughout the past week.

Fire Chief Higginbotham says that while battling the fire, some of the fire department's equipment became damaged. He told our reporter Price McKeon that debris landed on some of the hoses. 

He added that while they are still figuring out what exactly needs to be repaired, they do know that some of the hoses will have to be replaced.  

Update (Oct. 30):

CROSSETT, Ark. - Firefighters in Crossett are still investigating what caused a raging fire Saturday at an old Georgia Pacific plywood mill. 

The fire smoldered for hours as crews spent all day trying to tame it. 

Officials confirm that all businesses and residents that were evacuated were allowed back on their property the same day. 

Firefighter say it took 20 hours to get the flames under control. 

"The wind conditions that day were terrible," Deron Boykin with the Crossett Fire Department said. "We probably had 20/25 mile per hour wind blowing debris back on top of the town. Just insulation and small fires."

Firefighters say there were no injuries during the fire. 

Original story:

CROSSETT, Ark -- A fire at an old crossett plywood mill continues to smolder today. 

Crews spent the day picking up debris that spread from the fire by strong winds while fire crews investigated what sparked the blaze Saturday morning. 

Georgia-Pacific originally operated the mill, but it shut down in 2011. 

During the height of yesterday's fire, highway 82 was closed and nearby businesses were evacuated. 

Bo Higginbotham, the Crossett fire chief appreciated all the assistance from neighboring towns.
"I want to thank everyone that came out to help us. I had a lot of back up and had a lot of people calling to help us out".

The company says the fire started while a contractor was doing demolition work Saturday morning.

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