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Article posted: 2/12/2013 10:16 PM

Elgin mulch fire extinguished after 2-day battle

By Sara Hooker

More than 100 firefighters took turns fighting a two-day blaze at an Elgin composting business, finally stamping out the fire Tuesday afternoon.

Elgin firefighters responded to a fire at about 10 p.m. Sunday that had started in a 30-foot mulch pile in the 1300 block of Spaulding Road.

Fire officials believe heat from natural decomposition fanned by high winds caused the pile to spontaneously combust.

"At this point it doesn't appear to be malicious in nature," Elgin Batallion Chief Bryan McMahan said. "It was probably pretty warm and the high winds were just like blowing on a hot coal. That just really fueled it and made it into a pretty good fire."

Nobody was injured throughout the duration of the fire, and firefighters were successful in keeping the fire from spreading to nearby high tension power lines, rail cars and a pole barn.

A lack of fire hydrants required neighboring departments to haul in water on a rotation.

In order to fully extinguish it, firefighters worked with the business owner, who used equipment to knock down the huge pile and spread it out to extinguish it.

Participating fire departments included South Elgin, Rutland, Pingree, Barlett, Huntley, Hampshire, Fox River, St. Charles and East Dundee.

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