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Gibson County Brush Fire Burns a Dozen Acres

By 7 Eyewitness News Staff
By news@wbbjtv.com

Trenton, Tenn. - Gibson County firefighters said they encountered flames 20 to 30 feet in height when they first arrived at burning farmland on Hwy 186 and County Farm Road, just south of Trenton. The first 911 calls started coming in just before 5:30 p.m.

The Gibson County Fire Chief says thanks to help from 12 different fire stations throughout West Tennessee, they were able to get the flames under control in less than two hours. But there was still significant damage. The chief estimates a dozen acres burned.

Property owners told 7 Eyewitness News they actually started the fire by igniting diesel fuel that they had poured on grass two weeks ago to kill it off. The fire quickly spread to a nearby tool shed and stacks of wooden pallets. Firefighters estimated there were hundreds that caught fire. From the pallets the fire spread to nearby trees, woods and farm land.

"Once it got into the woods, we couldn't get the equipment in," said Gibson County Fire Chief Bryan Cathey. "We had to grad hand lines in and flappers and it got into the trees." The chief said that added additional dangers of falling tree limbs and debris.

The wind also played a role in how quickly the fire spread. Large equipment had to be brought in to help cut lines to slow the flames. But even with our cooler temperatures, the heat played a big role in how quickly the firefighters were able to work.

"It gets extremely hot with the turn out gear that they have to wear to protect themselves," said Chief Cathey. "Add that with the heat from the flames, [the firefighters] couldn't get anywhere near the fire due to the excessive heat."

Chief Cathey said eight firefighters were treated for heat-related issues. Two of them were taken by ambulance but are expected to fully recover. Another firefighter suffered a pretty bad sprained ankle.

The investigation into the official cause continues.
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