Chief breaks down all the backup for Burlington fire

BURLINGTON (WITI) — It’s finally out. That’s what firefighters here are hoping after returning Saturday, February 2nd to the Echo Lake Foods plant. They had to put out another round of hot spots that had flared up.

“Those are typical in any fire of this nature,” said Burlington Fire Chief Richard Lodle, “We are hopeful at this point that we’ve gotten the hot spots as much as we’re gonna be able to.”

Burlington was able to handle Saturday’s work alone. It was a stark contrast to Wednesday night and Thursday morning when more than 80 different fire departments responded to the massive blaze.

“We have a system called MABAS – Mutual Aid Box Alarm System,” Lodle said, “It’s designed to pre-plan sources that would be needed from a smaller incident up to something of this nature.”

Racine County has used MABAS since 2001. Each fire department in the county has a MABAS card for various scenarios. In each case, the department knows which agencies would help respond to a two-alarm fire all the way up for a five-alarm incident.

“Beyond that, the system goes to what’s called task force, which are departments which will group in an area and will convoy to your location,” Lodle said.

In this case, it went so far beyond that help came in from as far away as Dane County and suburban Chicago. Lodle says the huge response is designed to keep from using all the resources of closer-but-smaller fire departments. It also allows for a fresh rotation of firefighters.

Lodle says the investigation into what caused the fire will ramp back up Monday.

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