On Thursday, May 18, 2017, the Southern Manatee Fire Rescue District responded to 1401 44th Avenue East at 1200 hours for a report of a structure fire. Upon leaving the Station Battalion 3 advised ECC that he had a large column of thick black smoke and requested a 2nd alarm to dispatch.
Engine 321 arrived 3 minutes later at 1203 hours and reported a fully involved building with fire spreading to a large pile of tires. Engine 321 immediately began placing hose lines into operation with the second due Engine laying in a supply line to Engine 321. Battalion 3 arrived on scene and established command and requested a 3rd alarm. Two Safety Officers were immediately established for this working incident.
As more units and personnel arrived on scene larger hand lines were placed in service to protect the exposure (Callaghan Tire 1304 44th Street). At this point the fire was spreading due to a strong easterly wind that caught large tire piles in the yard of Callaghan Tires. Battalion 3 requested a 4th alarm. Truck 343 was set up in the front of Callaghan Tire and began operating an elevated master stream onto the burning tires.
Sarasota County Fire Department Truck 1 set up on the west side of Callaghan Tire and was being supplied by Cedar Hammock Engine. Truck 1 utilized their master stream devices and directed them onto the burning piles of tires. Sarasota-Bradenton Airport Crash Truck set up on the northeast and north side of the burning tires and applied foam.
Because of the strong winds and the large thermal column of these burning tires embers were being transported to a wooded area on the northwest and north side of this property which started a dozen small brush fires. Command requested a 5th alarm. Sarasota County Fire Department Engine 15 and Truck 11 was assigned to the neighborhood that was located in the path of this spreading fire. Cedar Hammock Engine and Firefighters assisted with the many brush fires that were located on the west side of the Callaghan building.
East Manatee Fire Rescue arrived on scene with one of two foam trailers that were used to supply foam to these burning tires. Manatee County EMS established rehab. directly south of the fire off 44th street. Chief DiCicco requested MCAT Bus for rehab and also requested the Manatee County Medical Reserve Corps, which when they arrived set up next to EMS.
Due to the large volumes of water and foam being pumped onto this fire, runoff started to occur that was carrying a lot pollution (oil / tire by-products) down the storm water system. Captain Bloski was advised and took immediate action by building a dam made out of tires and dirt. Haz-mat 1 arrived and absorbent pads were laid out. Chief DiCicco was requested to call Public Works for two dump trucks full of direct and for personnel from both Public Works and Environmental Services to respond to dealing with this run-off problem to prevent contamination of our storm water system.
Manatee County Sheriff’s Department arrived on scene and completely closed off a large section of 44th between 15th street and 37th street and 44th between 9th and 37th. Manatee County Sheriff’s Department Helicopter flew the scene and providing live aerial video of this area that identify to Command the direction of the fire and what was in its way in addition it picked up the numerous spot fires in the wooden areas so we could immediately extinguish these fires.
Chief Saur from ECC arrived on scene and assisted with gathering of all of the media in one central location and assisted Chief Gorski with the first news release as well as pictures and video footage. Based upon the thick toxic black smoke and multiple small fires starting in the wooded area that backed up to a residential community, Chief Saur did a reserve 9-1-1 to the area described above with a safety message about evacuation and safety message about the smoke.
Cedar Hammock, West Manatee, East Manatee, City of Bradenton, North River, Sarasota-Bradenton Airport, Manatee County EMS, Manatee County Public Works, Manatee County Building Department-Code Enforcement, Manatee County MCAT, Manatee County Environmental Services, Manatee County Medical Reserve Corps., Manatee County ECC, Manatee County Sheriff’s Department and Sarasota County Fire Department fought this fire from 1200 hours until it was brought under control at 1900 hours.

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