Firefighters from all over the area, including 20 firefighting units with 10 tanker trucks from Luzerne, Schuylkill, and Carbon counties, were called to battle a large tire fire Monday. It started just after 7 p.m. in Hazle Township in a salvage yard located between SR309 and SR924 in Hazleton.
Initial reports indicated the fire was located on a piece of property owned by Hazle Auto Parts. Heavy black smoke filled the sky for many miles, the majority of it traveling southwest. Some residents stated it could be seen as far away as Nesquehoning, and even Lehighton.
The fire was eventually put under control around 10 p.m.
Reportedly, a state police helicopter helped initially locate the fire. Emergency Management and Luzerne County air-quality officials were in the area all night testing for air quality, since an estimated 1,000 to 5,000 tires were eventually burned.
At least two sites on Route 309 near the Arthur Gardner Parkway and one near the Butler Industrial Park on Conahan Drive were set up to fill tanker trucks. Maintaining a steady flow of water was crucial to fighting the fire because of the way it was burning.
Residents who lived nearby in path of the heavy black smoke were asked to close their doors and windows.
Luzerne County EMA and Public Safety vehicles were on scene for a number of hours. Anyone experiencing difficulty breathing was encouraged to call 911.
Fire police from surrounding areas also responded to control traffic.