DEQ stops delivering debris to site after spontaneous combustion causes fire

DEQ stops delivering debris to site after spontaneous combustion causes fire
Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality has decided to stop delivering debris to a site where a fire sparked Tuesday night in Baton Rouge.

Investigators said a small fire erupted from within one of the debris pile on North Sherwood Forest Drive around 8:15 p.m.

Officials with the Baton Rouge Fire Department reported they have ruled the cause as spontaneous combustion.

According to investigators, when lots of wood and metal are piled in one spot, the temperature can rise inside the pile, which led to the fire.

"When that heat isn't able to escape because the pile is on top of each other, you generally have products that have a low ignition source, so when that heat builds up, it will actually ignite whatever material there is. It's self-combustion," said BRFD spokesman Curt Monte.

DEQ handles the debris disposal and delivers the debris to two sites - one on Sherwood Forest Drive and another on Perkins Road. Greg Langley with DEQ said no more debris will be added to the temporary location on North Sherwood Forest.

Officials added DEQ wants to empty the Sherwood site out and close it down by the end of October.

"This is not unusual to have a little bit of a small debris fire when you've got that much material in one place," Langley said. "I wouldn't do it any differently. That sped up the removal process by three times."

Langley says he expects debris pickup for East Baton Rouge to finish no later than the end of November.

Langley said employees are aware and prepared for any other fires. He added they are hoping for more favorable weather moving forward.

"Now they've had pretty dry conditions for a while. A little rain would help, we're looking forward to that maybe in the next couple of days," Langley said.

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