Macedonia -- A fire inside a huge pile of composting mulch at a local landscaping company was still smouldering nearly a week after it was discovered Feb. 25.

Capt. Brian Ripley said March 3 the mulch fire at Greenline Landscaping on South Freeway Drive was still not completely extinguished and would probably continue to burn for at least a few more days while the company's workers continued to excavate and hose down the mulch.

"It just keeps going and going, which is not unusual for these types of fires," he said.

Macedonia Fire Chief Tim Black said Norfolk Southern Railroad workers first noticed the fire the evening of Feb. 25 when they smelled smoke coming from the Greenline Landscaping property on South Freeway Drive.

Black said it was determined the fire was buried deep inside a huge pile of composting mulch some 50- to 60-feet high and a few hundred feet in circumference.

"It's deep seated inside of this pile," Black said Feb. 27, adding it isn't a threat to surrounding property because the mulch pile is several hundred feet from nearby buildings and surrounded by rocks.

"It's not like it's going anywhere, it's just going to sit there and burn. We don't want it to free burn because it's burning up all his material," Black said.

Black said the fire ignited from heat naturally produced in the composting process.

The firm attempted to expose the fire with an excavator the next morning, with the fire department extending fire hoses about 1,000 feet to the site.

However, frigid temperatures froze the excavator and the department sprayed the pile with "10s of thousands of gallons of water" to make sure the machine would not be damaged by the heat.

The company brought in a rented excavator the next day and firefighters began spraying down hot spots as the excavator exposed them for the remainder of Feb. 26.

Black said the department left the hoses at the site for the company to use on Feb. 27, returning to check on their progress every two hours.

"We have a hose line that's just constantly going there … We can't shut it off because it will freeze solid, so we have it just blowing on the pile. As they're digging they're turning it over and they just redirect the hose," he added.

Eric Marotta: 330-541-9433

emarotta@recordpub.com

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