CROSSETT — An Arkansas fire official says demolition workers without proper fire-safety training started and accidentally spread a fire that seethed for several hours at an abandoned plywood mill in south Arkansas last month. Fire officials ended their investigation of the Oct. 28 fire on Tuesday, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported. Crossett Fire Chief Bo Higginbotham said debris from the fire spread across the city for several days.
Higginbotham said the fire started after a demolition contractor for Georgia-Pacific, which owns the mill, used cutting torches that ignited a pile of wood debris. He said contractors attempted to extinguish the flames with a 500 gallon water tank, which instead pushed and spread the fire.
“Usually if you spray directly into the fire, just a straight shot, it’ll put what you hit out, but kind of like wind, it will blow the rest of it away,” Higginbotham said
Higginbotham said the workers lack of fire-safety training is why they didn’t know how to spray water directly on the fire. The fire began at 9:30 a.m. and was contained at 4 p.m., according to a report by the Crossett Fire Department. Georgia-Pacific spokeswoman Jennifer King said the company began an internal investigation on Tuesday. She also said Georgia-Pacific isn’t reconsidering its partnership with the Houston-based demolition contractor GSD Cos.