Intense Heat Has Intense Effect in Greenville Fire

Firefighters and residents say the intense heat from Monday's fire in Greenville was something they've never experienced before.
The intense fire that destroyed a Muhlenberg County warehouse is out, and three children face serious charges.  The fire started at about 7:00 PM Monday at an old tobacco warehouse in Greenville. Police believe three juveniles, ages 9, 10, and 12, were behind it.  Firefighters say an unknown combustible material may have been a source of the fire.  They face 3rd degree arson charges and criminal trespassing.

"I've been doing this for 40 years and I've never seen one get that hot that quick," says Greenville Fire Chief Jerry Aders.

The fire that took over an old tobacco warehouse last night could be seen for miles.

"The flames were just shooting out everywhere. Out the windows, the doors, everything," says Sheila Groves, who lives next to the old tobacco warehouse that burned down. "I was standing in the middle of my living room floor and I could feel the heat through my storm door and into my living room. I've never been around anything that's been that hot."

The nearly 120 year old building burned in a matter of minutes, damaging several nearby houses. Aders says the biggest challenge was that heat, heat he's never experienced in four decades of fire fighting. The materials inside fueled the flames.

"I would have to assume that all the nicotine and materials, it had hardwood floors in it, it had metal shell around it, which I think held the heat in," he says.  Chief Aders says that last night's fire got so hot that it actually melted parts of one of their fire trucks.

"It let it out all at one time," Aders says. "We had some fire hoses that were damaged. The black top was showing steam off of it."

Groves says what's more remarkable than the heat is that flames didn't spread to nearby homes.

"I thank God that, you know, there wasn't more damage than what was done, that everybody was O.K," Groves adds.

Greenville Police say the young suspects should appear in juvenile court sometime in the next few weeks.
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