5 years ago today: Massive Springfield fire

Today marks the fifth anniversary of the massive Tri-State Pallet warehouse fire in Springfield.

The Jan. 6, 2015 fire at the warehouse at 270 Monroe St. is believed to have been the largest fire in Springfield since 1999 when the Crowell-Collier building burned.

It required 42 firefighters and 11 fire engines at the scene, plus Box 27 Associates, mutual aid vehicles and personnel, and a heavy police presence to close the overpass and other streets.

PHOTOS: Tri-State Pallet fire aftermath 

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

The fire reached more than 20 feet above the treeline and was fueled by thousands of wooden pallets stored in the warehouse complex, firefighters said.

Firefighters poured more than 1 million gallons of water on the flames and much of that water froze, both on the ground and on the crews, making it that more difficult to fight.

Ice covered firefighters from head to toe when they came into the Springfield YMCA to use the restrooms and a gym as a warming center, Paul Weber, executive director of the Springfield Family YMCA said, but they had positive attitudes and remained more concerned about giving their fellow firefighters a break from the cold.

RELATED: Warehouse fire biggest in Springfield in decades 

Temperatures also created dangerous conditions around the scene as sheets of ice formed - equipment began to freeze, including a fire house that was frozen solid.

The fire took several days to extinguish.

Remains of the structure continued to smolder throughout the next day and Springfield Fire/Rescue Division crews were expected to remain on the scene overnight.

The remnants of the building were demolished in March of 2015.

The cause was officially undetermined, but firefighters believe it was sparked by a blowtorch from a scrapper stealing metal.

RELATED: Scrappers’ torches sparked biggest blaze in decades 

In the months after the fire, the division put an emphasis on code enforcement,- particularly storage and sprinkler requirements, Springfield Fire Chief Brian Miller. He was the Springfield Assistant Fire Chief and Fire Marshal during the fire. The fire wasn’t the result of improper storage, sprinklers or code enforcement, he said, but it highlighted the importance of those issues.

About the Author