Careless disposal of smoking materials ignites discarded Christmas tree, sets … – GazetteNET

The blaze was brought under control in about five minutes, said Hatfield Deputy Fire Chief Stephen Gaughan.

Gaughan said about 3:13 p.m. a call came in from a resident at 52 Bridge St. that a disposed Christmas tree caught fire from the disposal of smoking materials and had ignited the compost pile it was next to. Gaughan said the fire is being treated as accidental and no citations were given.

David Reed, who lives at 54 Bridge St., said the compost pile was made up of leaves and yard debris from around the area.

Reed said flames from the fire could be seen rising several feet above the pile before Hatfield firefighters knocked it down.

Gaughan said a crew of eight firefighters arrived to extinguish the blaze. There were no injuries, he said. No burning permits were issued on Monday due to the dry and windy conditions and urged all residents to not do any burning without checking with their local fire departments and getting the required permits.

Gaughan said firefighters were able to access a fire hydrant on Bridge Street about 450 to 500 feet from the pile to aid in putting the fire out.

Gaughan said the open field behind the pile also aided firefighters by acting as a natural barrier preventing spread of the fire. There was concern, however, the fire could have spread to a wooded area next to the pile, but it was under control before that became an issue, he said.

At least two other notable brush fires have occurred in the area over the last few days.

A fire intentionally lit Thursday afternoon to destroy weeds got out of control in Goshen, causing about $15,000 in damage to the home at 665 East St.

On Sunday, firefighters from seven departments worked for about five hours to extinguish a 26-acre brush fire at the top of the former Mount Tom Ski Area.

The cause of that fire is unknown, according to Holyoke Deputy Fire Chief Thomas Shea.

Bob Dunn can be reached at bdunn@gazettenet.com.

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