Mulch fire contained in southwest Phoenix

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By Andrew Michalscheck By Andrew Michalscheck
By Andrew Michalscheck By Andrew Michalscheck
By Andrew Michalscheck By Andrew Michalscheck
By Andrew Michalscheck By Andrew Michalscheck
By Andrew Michalscheck By Andrew Michalscheck

PHOENIX (AP) -- A three-alarm mulch fire that spread to a salvage yard in southwest Phoenix is now under control and almost extinguished, according to a spokesman.

Late Friday night, Phoenix Fire Department officials said a fire prevention crew was going to remain on scene to check for hot spots, but work involving the fire was otherwise complete.

The blaze broke out about 5 p.m. Friday at Southwest Forest Products, according to firefighters.

Witnesses told 3TV a piece of heavy equipment , a front-end loader, touched off the fire near 35th Avenue and Lower Buckeye Road.

"We started seeing the mulch catch fire.  At that point, there were a couple of explosions. Tires blew on the front loader, and after that, it just went crazy," said Will Ribadeneira who works nearby.

The fire then spread to a nearby recycling yard and also a salvage yard.

Andrew Holloway who owns one of the properties affected, South Valley Recyclers, worried about what burned.

"Trailers with equipment, trailers, vehicles, lots of different materials,"said Holloway.  "Something we would have been able to sell....scrap now."

Fortunately, no one was hurt during the fire.  However, one firefighter did suffer a heat-related illness, according to a spokesman.  About 100 firefighters worked through the especially hot temperatures to extinguish the flames.

3TV tried to reach the mulch distributor for comment but was unable.  The extent of the damage is unknown.