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‘Getting in your lungs:’ Firefighters battle fire at tire recycling plant near 32nd and Locust

Business fire near 32nd and Locust, Milwaukee

MILWAUKEE -- A massive fire broke out at a tire store near 32nd and Locust Thursday, February 8th. Crews battled the blaze for several hours to get it under control. The size of the building is huge, and several units responded to the scene.

"I just seen lots of firefighters, water in the air, people running," said Ishia Reed, lives in the area.

Billowing smoke blinded nearby neighborhoods.

"Man it stank strong, getting in your lungs," said Reed.

Business fire near 32nd and Locust, Milwaukee

The strength of the flames, matching the smell, stagnant in the cold air.

Business fire near 32nd and Locust, Milwaukee

Ishia Reed and her family, watched the ladder grow from their home.

"My kids were in the window looking, it looks like a movie," said Reed.

Firefighters cut open a portion of the building to gain access to the flames.

"We had access through the main entry once we got here and it is so large and interconnected this is another access point for us to come at a different angle," said Milwaukee Fire Department Assistant Chief Brian Smith.

Business fire near 32nd and Locust, Milwaukee

Milwaukee police closed off several blocks in each direction as fire crews laid hose lines because they were having trouble getting water.

Reed and her family watched as crews tried to figure out what went wrong.

Business fire near 32nd and Locust, Milwaukee

"There wasn't so many firefighters out here, I seen more firefighters come. I've seen them block off more areas so it had to get a little bit deeper," said Reed.

We Energies shut off natural gas and electricity at the building, saying the flames were threatening nearby power lines.

Crews continue searching for the cause -- in less than ideal conditions.