Developing: Fire crews back at the scene of French Island fire - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Developing: Fire crews back at the scene of French Island fire

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Town of Campbell, WI (WXOW) -

UPDATE: Fire crews are back at the scene of Tuesday's industrial fire on French Island. The Town of Campbell fire department arrived at Tie Yard of Omaha, on Bainbridge Street, around six o'clock Wednesday morning to put out a hot spot. A firefighter at the scene says hot spots are common. They are monitoring the situation, but there is no need for alarm.

Residents in the Town of Campbell were told not to leave their homes Tuesday morning due to a large industrial fire. The fire started around 1 a.m. at the Tie Yard of Omaha, a scrap railroad tie company on Bainbridge Street on French Island.

Every single fire department from La Crosse County responded to the fire. Firefighters believe the fire started in a wood chipper.

The fire department issued a shelter in place order for residents of the Town of Campbell, asking people to stay inside because all of the smoke from the fire could have been dangerous.

Smoke from the fire, which involves creosote-soaked wood chips, created a smoky cloud around the Bainbridge Street area where the company is located.

Officials told WXOW that the fire involved old railroad ties that were being disposed of. An industrial wood chipper used to break down the ties was also involved in the fire.

Residents who spoke to our crew said they heard "booms" and "fireworks" after the fire started. They also smelled the heavy smoke from the burning ties.

Nine area departments fought the fire including Town of Campbell, La Crescent, Shelby, Stoddard, Town of Shelby, Westby, Bangor-Burns, Onalaska and La Crosse. Besides firefighting equipment, heavy excavators helped push piles of the wood chips around in order for firefighters to help get control of the situation.

The Town of Shelby fire department used their mutual aid system called MABAS. It stands for Mutual Aid Box Alarm System.

"Communication is the biggest downfall in the fire service. Life safety is our biggest issue we want to keep everybody safe," said Karl Goldbeck, Lieutenant with the Onalaska Fire Department.

There were no reported injuries in the fire. The state fire marshal is helping investigate the cause.

The president of Omaha Track inc said we may never know what caused the large fire at the french island facility.

Terry Peterson told news 19 safety investigators are on their way to review with scene. Peterson said he believes electric grinders, designed to reduce the risk of sparks, may have ignited the fire in the industrial wood chipper, but because of the intense heat of the blaze investigators may not ever determine an official cause.

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