Investigators launch probe into cause of EnTire Recycling Fire

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US 136 West of Rock Port on Monday

US 136 West of Rock Port
on Monday

Things have settled down quite a bit west of Rock Port, where a fire at a tire recycling facility shut down a highway and prompted safety warnings for nearby residents.

Atchison County’s Emergency Management Director Rhonda Wiley said Wednesday they still expect the fire to continue burning “for the foreseeable future.” Wiley said employees at EnTire Recycling continue to monitor the burning piles of tire remnants.

“They’re keeping an eye on it to make sure it doesn’t flare up,” Wiley said. She said there were no injuries reported in the fire or the firefighting effort at the facility at 13974 U.S. Highway 136, just west of Rock Port.

The cause of the fire remains underinvestigation.

“We have no known cause for the fire,” said Scott Jones, Fire Chief in the West Atchison Fire Protection District. “I can tell you that we had an investigator there today, but I know nothing more than that.”

Jones said their firefighting effort has been frustrating. Piles of ground rubber continue to smolder outside the concrete building where the blaze started Sunday night.

“We can walk right up to them, but we’re just unable to put them out,” Jones said. “We are covering them up with foam, and within an hour they’ll be burning again.”

“We flooded the basement with 858,000 gallons of water, and the basement is the only thing we’ve been able to put out.”

As we reported earlier, the fire erupted Sunday, and by Monday was producing a huge cloud of potentially-toxic smoke that could be seen for miles.

By Tuesday, 136 Highway had reopened.

“There’s still smoke,” Wiley said, “but not as much as on Monday.