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Sparks from a train's brakes blamed for 50-acre brush fire

By Times Staff
Published April 4, 2006

GIBSONTON - More than 50 acres of brush burned Monday after a passing train's brakes shot sparks into arid property near Old Hwy 41 in the Gibsonton area.

It was the largest of four brush fires that broke out Monday in Hillsborough County, said Hillsborough Fire Rescue spokesman Ray Yeakley.

While each blaze was contained without damaging structures or injuring anyone, the frequency of the fires kept emergency units tied up much of the day, Yeakley said.

Four hours after getting a noon call about the Gibsonton fire, 16 Hillsborough Fire Rescue units were still on the scene and were expecting to be there many hours more. The crews tried to contain the flames from damaging a nearby metal shredding business or impacting plastic pipes that carry acid water runoff into a berm at Mosaic Fertilizer LLC.

"More than anything, it just taps our resources," Yeakley said. "If you get anything else going on, it just straps the whole county as far as fire protection."

The three other bush fires on Monday were far less extensive, Yeakley said:

--After fighting a Sunday brush fire south of Lithia-Pinecrest Road, crews went to the area again Monday when part of the 40- to 60-acre burn reignited. Yeakley said it was contained within a half-hour.

--About 2 acres at Sam Allen Road in the Plant City area burned without threat to homes or businesses. The call came in at 2:30 p.m., Yeakley said, and crews quickly brought the fire under control.

--Less than an acre burned near U.S. 301 and State Road 674 in the Sun City area after crews responded about 11 a.m.

[Last modified April 4, 2006, 03:00:35]

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