A fire at International Paper Company in Cedar Rapids is finally out after burning for nearly 49 hours.
It started early Saturday in a storage building and fire crews were busy at the scene until 8:30 this morning.
Cedar Rapids Fire Department Battalion Chief Andy Olesen says 65-70 firefighters worked to put out the blaze over the last couple of days and that does not count the ones who were sent to help from other agencies.
Olesen says it's unusual to have a fire last as long as this one did. "Typical structure fires would last an hour maybe two hours something like that. 49 hours, I would guess that we haven't had one last that long in several years," he told us.
International Paper Company Mill Manager Cliff Murphy wrote in an email to KWWL Monday, "We deeply appreciate the immediate response of trained team members on-site to help control the fire and the quick response of local fire departments to completely put out the fire."
Olesen says each burning bale of cardboard had to be pulled out with a forklift. "Each bale caught on fire so you had to pick up each bale, carry it outside, split the bale apart and then spray it with water," he told us.
It was a dangerous job that lasted most of the weekend. "We are used to dealing with these industrial fires, not one that last 49 hours so I think there's quite a few firefighters that are happy that they don't have to go back out you know right now and keep tearing those things apart but on the other hand if it happens again we'll go out," Olesen says.
The fire department is continuing to work to figure out what started the fire, International Paper is also having their Safety Staff investigate. One firefighter was treated for minor injuries while fighting the fire.