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Penhold firefighters prevent potentially serious blaze

Investigators probing to see if incident was arson
MVT Penhold construction fire
Penhold firefighters put out a pallet and debris fire Thursday evening (Oct. 29) at a construction site near the intersection of Rge. Rd. 275 and Hwy. 42. Photo courtesy of Penhold Fire Department

PENHOLD - Firefighters will be on the scene of a construction site today (Oct. 30) to see if a potentially serious blaze the previous evening was a case of arson.

“It was a pretty big fire. There was a lot of pallets and wood that was burning. The potential was there that it could have spread to vegetation in the fields for sure,” said Jim Pendergast, fire chief of the Penhold Fire Department.

Penhold firefighters received a call at about 6:45 p.m. on Oct. 29 to respond to an eastside fire at a construction site near the intersection of Rge. Rd. 275 and Hwy. 42.

After arriving at the scene within nine minutes, firefighters found a pile of wooden debris and pallets on fire. Firefighters pulled all combustible materials apart and extinguished the blaze within five minutes, said Pendergast, adding 15 firefighters with four fire units and a local peace officer responded to the call. He said no citizen or firefighter was injured by the blaze.

Pendergast said there would be additional probing of the site today (Oct. 30) to determine if the incident was a criminal case of arson, or whether it was a non-criminal act by citizens who were attempting to burn off excess materials at the site but did not have a fire permit. 

“We have to talk to the crew that was constructing to see if they did it because they are not allowed to have a fire without getting a fire permit, so we need to know if they did it or if it is arson. We won’t know that until later on today.”

Pendergast said no one was at the scene when firefighters arrived.

“That is part of this. You have a fire permit,” he said. “You can’t leave it unattended, and you have to have equipment there to put it out if it gets out of control because of the wind.”

The investigation into the blaze continues.

Johnnie Bachusky

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