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Spring Branch blaze could take days longer to extinguish, fire chief says

Fire crews have already extinguished about two-thirds of the fire, Pena said.

FILE: Houston Fire Department truck
FILE: Houston Fire Department truck

A nearly 3-acre construction site fire that has now been burning for a week will likely take several more days to extinguish, Houston Fire Department Chief Samuel Pena told Spring Branch residents Thursday.

Pena said fire crews are about two-thirds of the way through extinguishing the blaze at the intersection of Hammerly and Hollister that has bombarded nearby residents with lingering smoke. Despite concerns, officials said air quality levels are safe.

“They are pulling material out, they are turning it over, they are wetting it down and then they are carrying it away,” Pena said.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation, and Councilwoman Amy Peck said Thursday evening no permits had been issued to the contracting company for the burn. The pile of green debris and tree cuttings had been sitting on the property for about a year before they caught fire last week.

Hundreds of thousands of gallons of water have already been used to extinguish the top layer of the flames, but heavy machinery is needed to break down debris to fully mitigate the fire, leading to an undetermined timeline. The fire is currently under control, officials said.

Firefighters rotated on scene and used multiple handlines and blitz nozzles to control the fire, according to the fire department. Once controlled, contractors and a mitigation company responded to fight the flames. The fire department has continued to monitor the incident working with the contractors.

If air quality levels deteriorate, residents will be alerted of any shelter in place orders through AlertHouston, Peck said.