Scrap yard fire put out on Milwaukee's south side

Image by Dan O'Donnell

Scrap yard fire put out on Milwaukee's south side

By WTMJ News Team. CREATED Apr 6, 2012 - UPDATED: Apr 6, 2012

MILWAUKEE- A fire has been put out at Miller Compressing, a scrap yard near 17th and Canal St. on Milwaukee's south side Friday evening.

Firefighters responded to reports of explosions at Miller Compressing and they are there late Friday evening, handling a pile of smoldering debris.

TODAY'S TMJ4 reports the scene is very active Friday night and the roads in the immediate area still blocked off.

Joseph Kovacich, vice president for administration at the company, tells the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel there were no reports of injuries and no damage to any buildings.  He says the smoke and flames came from burning scrap metal and insulation.

The smoke has died down, but it caused quite a commotion earlier Friday evening.

Christine Hybicki lives just a few blocks away and could smell the smoke inside her home.  "I heard pops like something blowing up a few times and then when I did..I saw all the black smoke," said Christine Hybicki.

Below the clouds of smoke, a fire raged in a scrap yard of Miller Compressing.  "Upon arrival, companies reported that they had approx a 300 by 100 by 50ft high pile of burning metal," said Paul Conway, Milwaukee Fire Department's chief of operations.

Fire officials don't know what ignited the metal around 5:30 Friday -- but it's not the first time it's happened.  "We've had fires like this in the past at this facility. It's part of their operation. This happens," said Conway.

The plume of smoke was so impressive people flocked to take pictures and watch as they waited for information.

Cheri Bruemmer and her son were leaving the Brewers game when they saw the smoke and drove over to check it out.  "You think, when you see something bad smoke like that, you fear the worst that a major tragedy has happened," said Bruemmer.

Luckily, no was hurt, but the fire did cause a headache for several hours with blocked off roads and backed up traffic.

The smoke was visible from Miller Park, where the St. Louis Cardinals spoiled the Milwaukee Brewers' opener with an 11-5 victory.

We have raw video and pictures of the fire attached.