Double duty: Berryville firefighters have busy night

Tuesday, December 21, 2021
Firefighters from the Berryville and Eureka Springs fire departments work to contain a blaze at Big Rock Recycling on Highway 62 west of Berryville on Tuesday, Dec. 14.
Robert Cox / Carroll County News

The Berryville Fire Department responded to two separate fires within three hours last week, each with its own set of challenges.

The first involved reports of explosions and fire at a scrap yard just outside city limits, while the second involved a structure in a residential neighborhood a few blocks from the Berryville School District campus.

According to Berryville Fire Department Capt. Alan Hulse, the first call came at approximately 7:15 p.m., when firefighters were dispatched to Big Rock Recycling on Highway 62, just west of Berryville.

“The call was for fire and explosions,” Hulse said, “and we responded with our men and trucks.”

Hulse said Berryville Fire responded with approximately 20 firefighters, two tankers, a pumper and the squad truck, and after arriving on scene, requested an additional tanker and personnel from Eureka Springs.

Hulse said his crew’s efforts to extinguish the blaze were complicated by the necessity of having to shuttle water from hydrants closer to Berryville, along with the nature of a fire in a scrap yard.

“We put a lot of water on it — a lot of tanker support,” Hulse said. “It messes a lot of people up. They don’t understand or they get worried that it’s in a scrap yard. It’s kind of a self-contained situation, but it’s just being able to get to it. That’s the main thing, and when it’s under a lot of scrap, sometimes it’s hard to get to.”

Hulse said the department wasn’t sure what started the fire, but business owner Nicholas Handley, who was on scene at the fire, said he believed it was likely a small propane tank that had been left in a vehicle and punctured by equipment, calling the situation a “nightmare” for scrap yard operators.

“That’s very possible,” Hulse said.

The second fire call came almost immediately after firefighters left Big Rock, as firefighters were dispatched to a structure fire on Alma Street.

Hulse said the fire was inside a one-story residence and firefighters were able to contain the blaze to the rear of the house.

“We knocked her down pretty quick,” Hulse said. “We were able to save a lot of it.”

Hulse said firefighters were on the scene of the second fire for approximately three hours, making for a long night.

“We were probably still at the station around 2:30 in the morning,” Hulse said.

Hulse said no one was injured in either incident.

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