Cutting Torch Ignites Saw Mill Fire

At about 9:40 Thursday morning the Mount Pleasant Fire Department was paged out to a fire at 2818 Kentucky Avenue.  Upon arrival at the Batey Sawmill crews encountered heavy smoke coming from a large structure. Salem and New London Departments were immediately called for manpower and tanker trucks. Crews remained on the scene for four and half hours. Mount Pleasant Fire Chief Drew Schumacher said the fire started when dust and debris caught fire while mechanics were using a cutting torch to cut bolts as they were removing equipment. They tried to put out the fire with several fire extinguishers but the fire spread to quickly.

Six firefighters from Salem brought an engine, a tanker, a brush truck and a rescue unit. New London sent five firefighters and one engine.

The Chief extends special thanks to both departments, the Henry County Sheriff’s office, the Henry County Engineer’s Department that dispatched road maintainers break up ice on the gravel road and to the Iowa State Department of Transportation for assistance with traffic control on Hwy 218 and at the Mount Pleasant High School where tankers were filling up with water at the hydrant there. He also thanked the Mount Pleasant High School faculty.