Large mulch fire rages in Upper Marlboro area

April 24, 2013

A huge mulch pile ignited Wednesday night at a refuse business in the Upper Marlboro area, and more than 100 firefighters from around the area were trying to extinguish the blaze, authorities said.

Wind gusts of up to 30 mph fueled the fire and blew embers into nearby brush around Ritchie’s Landfill in the 2000 block of Ritchie Marlboro Road. Firefighters responded to the site of the burning mulch pile, about 100 feet long and 30 feet high, around 8 p.m., said Mark Brady, a Prince George’s County fire department spokesman.

No injuries were reported, and no structures appeared to be in danger.

Firefighters were hampered by a lack of water because of the rural location of the business, Brady said. Officials used tanker trucks to refill at a hydrant two miles away and called in tanker trucks from Fairfax County and from military installations Joint Base Andrews and Naval District Washington to help, he said.

Firefighters sprayed foam to smother the burning mulch, Brady said. Even so, officials expect to be on the scene well into Thursday to ensure that the fire is completely extinguished.

“Safety in these type of instances is the utmost priority,” Brady said.

The cause of the fire was not immediately known, but spontaneous combustion was a possibility, he said.

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