Colleton County Fire-Rescue


14/June/2014 Equipment Fire A Shift

Incident # 14-03511 A large piece of equipment burned Saturday at the Kapstone Wood Chip facility located at 24022 Augusta Highway, Saturday afternoon 14-June. At 16:46, 9-1-1 began receiving reports of large columns of black smoke and explosions at the business. The complex is located well off of the highway and is not easily visible from the road. One caller drove to the locked gate and reported what appeared to be a building on fire. The incident was upgraded to a structural response shortly after the initial dispatch. Engine 9 arrived to find a large column of black smoke in a debarker, chipping machine. The 100 long, two story, elevated device consists of several large rotating cylinders that remove bark from cut trees and cuts them into wood chips. A conveyor network moves the finished product to different locations. The entire machine, several large electric motors, several conveyors and piles of woods chips were burning. Engine 9 deployed two 1-3/4 handlines and one booster line to combat the fire. They requested a second alarm for additional personnel and Tenders. Firefighters had the fire contained to the area of the chipper within 25 minutes, keeping the flames from reaching several smaller structures, wood chip piles and stored piles of cut pine trees. Units were on the scene for 3-1/2 hours.

The owner advised the last time the unit was operated was on Thursday. It appeared the fire started in wood and dust under the conveyor belt and then spread to other areas. No one was at the facility when the fire occurred contributing to its spread. The machine suffered extensive damage.

Engine 9, Engine 19, Tender 5, Tender 9, Tender 17, Tender 19, Tender 26, Tender 27, Medic 9, Medic 19, Battalion 1 and Car 12 responded. Battalion Chief Dan Barb served as Incident Commander.