• CFD: 36 firefighters treated for dehydration during 5-alarm fire

    By: Alexa Ashwell


    CHARLOTTE, N.C. - A steady stream of water was the recipe of the day for firefighters poised above and around Chamberlain Avenue.

    The day after a massive fire sent flames shooting high and smoke billowing wide, the soggy aftermath was still smoldering.

    After more than 24 hours fighting the fire, the majority of firefighters and support personnel are leaving the scene.

    “Just because it was piled so high and so deep and the material is so dense it makes it a real challenge to actually get water on the fire to everything that's burning,” said Battalion Chief Mike Mitchum with Charlotte Fire Department.

    Battalion Chief Jerry Winkles said three firefighters went to the hospital for carbon monoxide levels. All have been released and can return to full duty. About 200 firefighters responded to a five-alarm fire at a recycling building Wednesday afternoon.

    Winkles explained that meters on all ladder trucks give count of carbon monoxide levels. If numbers rise above a certain level, firefighters are evaluated by medical personnel.

    Firefighters said they had equipment monitoring air quality on their trucks and sought to reassure the community Thursday afternoon.

    “Unless you were immediately on the facility, immediately next to the fire, air quality was really not an issue.  The heat and smoke was getting above any neighborhoods and getting dissipated,” Mitchum said.

    Fire benchmarks from Charlotte Fire Department:

    • First call: 3:31 p.m. Wednesday, June 24
    • Control time: 8:34 p.m. Wednesday, June 24
    • Total number of CFD firefighters and personnel dedicated to the scene so far: More than 200
    • Number of firefighters given IVs to combat dehydration: 36
    • Number of firefighters transported: 3 (1 Wednesday and 2 overnight; all were treated and released from the hospital)

    Winkles called the five-alarm fire a rare occasion.

    Officials said a spark from a piece of equipment started the fire, which spread quickly to bales of cardboard.

    Firefighters separated the bales Thursday morning and sprayed each one to prevent flames from reigniting.

    Channel 9’s Stephanie Coueignoux took a closer look:

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    Power was restored to homes that had it cut off for safety reasons. A day care center nearby was closed for Thursday.

    Crews, even in the blistering heat, were able to keep the fire from damaging homes nearby.

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