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Local departments respond to large Tippecanoe Co. fire

Monday, January 7, 2013

CLARKS HILL -- Three Putnam County fire departments were among the more than two dozen responding to a large blaze in a small Tippecanoe County town late Saturday night.

A Tippecanoe County sheriff's dispatcher said Sunday that crews remained on the scene of a fire at the Industrial Pallet Corp. in tiny Clarks Hill, about 15 miles southeast of Lafayette.

Among the crews on scene overnight were tanker trucks from the Roachdale, Bainbridge and Cloverdale Township volunteer fire departments -- a trip ranging from 45 to 65 miles for the local crews.

Roachdale Fire Chief Mike Poole told the Banner Graphic his department was dispatched at 11:34 p.m. to make the 55-minute trip north.

A Putnam County 911 dispatcher said all three departments were called out shortly before midnight, with the last crews not returning to station until approximately 7 a.m.

The time of the trip expands to just over an hour in the case of Bainbridge and to nearly 90 minutes for Cloverdale.

Poole estimated the three departments carried a total of 60,000 gallons to assist with fighting the blaze. That battle has necessitated nearly one million gallons of water, sources said.

Water from the local trucks helped supply two tower trucks -- one from Perry Township in Tippecanoe County and one from Frankfort.

The Journal & Courier reports two dozen fire departments responded to the fire near U.S. 52 and Indiana 28, which was visible for several miles. No injuries were reported.

Water was trucked in from other sources after the Clarks Hill water tower was emptied.

Lafayette Fire Department assistant fire chief Steve Butram said the fire burned for several hours before it was discovered.

Butram says the fire is expected to burn for several days.

Extinguishing the blaze has been complicated for crews by icy conditions, wind and tons of combustible materials.

With three sites in Indiana and one in Pennsylvania, Industrial Pallet Corp. is one of the nation's largest manufacturers of new and recycled wooden pallets from mixed hardwoods.

Industrial Pallet is also the dominant supplier of colored mulch in Central Indiana.

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