Grass fire burns parts of I-65 embankment

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 15, 2006

Proof that it only takes a spark to get a fire a-going:

Greenville firefighters rushed to the interstate on Wednesday afternoon to douse multiple grass fires that stretched at least a mile along the steep embankment on I-65.

While the flames were relatively small, the heavy white smoke caused by the fires billowed across the northbound lane and obscured traffic. The fires crept downwards and left behind blackened patches of dry earth, before firefighters were able extinguish them. They were aided by the timely arrival of an afternoon thundershower.

Liberty Volunteer Fire Department was called in to assist.

Greenville Fire Chief Mike Phillips said the fires could have been caused by a number of things. A stray cigarette or cigar tossed from a fast moving automobile for one.

&#8220I've seen cars being towed by a truck and the sparks can cause a grass fire quick,” he said. &#8220Especially with the dry conditions we've been having.”

Firefighters combated the fires from the bottom and top of the embankment.

While there was never any real danger of the fire spreading beyond the grassy hill on I-65, Greenville Police Lt. Anthony Barganier, who lives near the area, joked that he'd be glad to step out of his patrol car and help if the firemen needed it.