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Debris fire guts Pahrump recycling facility

The thick, heavy plumes of black smoke seen throughout the entire valley was due to a massive fire at a local recycling facility on Wednesday afternoon.

Pahrump Valley Fire and Rescue Services Chief Scott Lewis said crews responded to the Pahrump Valley Recycling facility at 1650 East Mesquite Road just before 3 p.m.

“Crews arrived to find a well-developed rubbish fire in the center part of the complex,” Lewis said. “Crews immediately completed a 360 size up and found that there were several additional exposure structures, heavy equipment, as well as other debris piles. Fortunately, there were nearby hydrants that had a terrific flow out of them.

“Crews utilized those hydrants where they commenced a defensive exterior attack and quickly contained the fire,” Lewis said. “We were flowing approximately 2,500 gallons per minute. We had four master streams and two portable master streams in service. It was under control within about an hour and 15 minutes. There were no injuries and there was no extension of the fire to any of the other exposures at the complex.”

Regarding the exact cause of the fire, Lewis said it appeared to be accidental in nature.

“It was reported that the fire resulted from a large explosion in the area where individuals were breaking down recyclable materials into small piles,” he said. “We know the ignition source was related to the operations going on there. It may have been a possibly a leaking propane tank.”

As crews were working to extinguish the fire, Lewis also noted that numerous additional calls for service were received by 911 dispatchers.

“During that time, we also had several motor vehicle accidents that were managed as well additional medical events that occurred,” he noted. “During the height of the fire, we were managing up to seven or eight events, but all in all, everything went smoothly. We did exercise our mutual ID agreement, where we brought in some Nevada Test Site resources to handle any additional calls that came in, and they also assisted on the fire grounds.”

Residents living in the immediate area reported hearing a series of explosions just prior to the arrival of first responders.

Those explosions continued as fire crews were attempting to extinguish the fire.

Crews from the Live PD television series were also on scene documenting the incident.

Contact reporter Selwyn Harris at sharris@pvtimes.com, on Twitter: @pvtimes

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