Business fire causes visibility concerns along U.S. 95

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  • Photo by MITCHELL BONDS Firefighters tackle a scrap-pile fire Sunday afternoon at Site Solutions, near the Chilco mill, next to U.S. 95.

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    Photo courtesy NORTHERN LAKES FIRE DISTRICT A firefighter unleashes the power of a hose truck on a fire at Site Solutions in Athol on Sunday afternoon.

  • Photo by MITCHELL BONDS Firefighters tackle a scrap-pile fire Sunday afternoon at Site Solutions, near the Chilco mill, next to U.S. 95.

  • 1

    Photo courtesy NORTHERN LAKES FIRE DISTRICT A firefighter unleashes the power of a hose truck on a fire at Site Solutions in Athol on Sunday afternoon.

By BRIAN WALKER

Staff Writer

A fire at a recycling business caused a massive plume of smoke that hampered driving visibility along U.S. 95 near the Chilco mill on Sunday afternoon.

The cause of the construction debris fire reported at 1:25 p.m. at Site Solutions, 54051 N. Old U.S. 95, west of U.S. 95 was still under investigation on Sunday night.

"The call originally came out as an auto fire in the recycling area," said Jim Lyon, spokesman for the Northern Lakes Fire Department, which assisted with other agencies on the fire in the Timberlake Fire Protection District.

There were no injuries nor were there any structures that burned.

The fire, estimated to be about 200-by-200 feet, occurred just south of the Chilco mill.

"It was about 60 feet of debris and it put up a huge plume of smoke," Lyon said.

Old U.S. 95 was blocked during the incident. U.S. 95 was not blocked but drivers were urged to use extreme caution due to poor visibility from the fire.

Firefighters protected the four-alarm fire from entering a propane storage area.

About 50 emergency personnel responded. Other agencies that assisted included the Kootenai County Sheriff's Office, Kootenai County Fire and Rescue, Idaho State Police, Spirit Lake, Idaho Department of Lands, Sagle Fire, Spokane Valley Fire, Mica Kidd Island and the state Fire Marshal's Office.

"All available tenders in the area were called," Lyon said. "It was a pretty extensive water operations that required obtaining water from the mill site."

Fire crews were expected to be on scene much of the night tending to hotspots.

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