About 75 firefighters from the , , , and Jamesport Fire Departments were still working in freezing temperatures as of 9:15 a.m. on Monday morning to completely extinguish a fire that started inside of a 25-foot-high industrial mulch pile behind off of Route 48 in Cutchogue.
According to Cutchogue Fire Chief Andrew McCaffery, the fire started by spontaneous combustion in the early morning hours. Firefighters responded to a call around 5 a.m., when the mulch pile was engulfed in heavy flames and smoke, McCaffery said.
"We'll never know for sure, but this was most likely spontaneous combustion from the pressure inside the pile, and the heavy winds fueled the fire," he said.
There was no structural damage to North Fork Self Storage or other surrounding industrial buildings, McCaffery added. Cutchogue Materials and Recycling, another industrial business in the complex, owns the mulch pile that erupted into flames, according to firefighters.
There were no injuries at the scene. By about 9:15 a.m., the soaking mulch pile was reduced to from 25 to about 4 feet in hight. Riverhead Fire Department was on call, as every piece of equipment from fire departments at the scene was in use.
Parts of Commerce Drive and Depot Lane were closed to traffic early Monday morning, but Route 48 remained open, McCaffery said.
Stay tuned to North Fork Patch for a slideshow and video of the event.