Hot Spots Flare Up at Dietz and Watson Warehouse

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Solar panels created unique challenges for firefighters who battled a massive blaze at the Dietz and Watson distribution warehouse in Delanco, Burlington County, New Jersey. This is video of the aftermath. (Published Tuesday, Sep 3, 2013)

    Flare ups continue to be a problem more than a week after the massive Dietz & Watson warehouse fire. As many as six hot spots continue to smolder and burn at the site of last week's 11-alarm blaze.

    Delanco Fire Chief Ron Holt says trucks from his volunteer fire department have been dispatched to the refrigeration facility three times to knock down flare-ups since last Sunday's massive fire in Delanco, Burlington County, N.J. The blaze leveled the nearly 300,000 square foot complex that stored deli meats and cheeses.

    The most recent flare-up happened on Sunday when flames shot four to five feet into the air.

    "There are still five or six hot spots that are still burning that are underneath the collapsed roof that we can't get to," Chief Holt told NBC10.com Monday. "It's just in an area where we can't even apply water to it."

    More Than a Week Later Firefighters Battle Hot Spots

    [PHI] More Than a Week Later Firefighters Battle Hot Spots
    Delanco Fire Chief Ron Holt said that firefighters continue to keep an eye on flare ups at the Dietz & Watson warehouse that burned down last week. (Published Monday, Sep 9, 2013)

    Chief Holt says cardboard, building materials and grease from the products stored in the warehouse are most likely fanning the small fires.

    He and the deputy chief visit the site periodically to check on the smoldering ruins.

    However, the department is unable to leave a fire truck out at the site since it they do not have staff firefighters.

    "Dietz & Watson has posted four guards -- one in each corner of the building -- to keep an eye on everything," he said.

    Those guards are instructed to call 911 when flair ups happen, Chief Holt will inspect the fire, and if necessary, firefighters will be called in to try and douse the flames, he said.

    One concern Delanco firefighters no longer have to contend with is the 7,000 solar panels lining the now collapsed roof.

    Firefighters were forced to pull back whole fighting the original 11-alarm fire over fears that crews would be electrocuted by the energy being independently generated by the devices. Unlike traditional energy sources, solar panels can not easily be stopped from producing energy when light is present.

    The fire which was fought by more than 40 fire departments from around South Jersey forced officials to ration water for nearby towns as they redirected flows to the firefighting effort.

    Peter Eschbach with New Jersey American Water says those restrictions were lifted last Wednesday and have not needed to be out back into place.