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Thursday, April 24, 2014 9:38 AM

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Massive landfill fire takes 150 firefighters six hours to extinguish


Foam units called to help douse flames reaching 20-30 feet

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Photo by Jim Davis. More than 150 firefighters battle a large mulch fire at the Ritchie Landfill for several hours Wednesday night. Foam units from the across the area also were called to the scene.

Photo by Jim Davis. More than 150 firefighters battle a large mulch fire at the Ritchie Landfill for several hours Wednesday night. Foam units from the across the area also were called to the scene.

Published on: Thursday, April 25, 2013

By Jim Davis

More than 150 firefighters battled a massive blaze for more than six hours Wednesday night at Ritchie's Landfill in Upper Marlboro.

Ritchie Volunteer Fire Department responded just after 8 p.m. Wednesday to the landfill in the 2000 block of Ritchie Marlboro Road.

Firefighters reported the mulch fire was about 500 feet long, 400 feet wide and about 100 feet tall. At one point, flames reached 20 to 30 feet in the air. Additional units were requested to the scene.

As fire crews attacked the massive flames, strong winds sent embers into the nearby woods starting a small brush fire, said Mark Brady, chief spokesman for Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department. More units were then dispatched to the scene, Brady added.

With no hope of extinguishing the fire with water, foam units were requested from Fairfax and Charles counties, Joint Base Andrews, the U.S. Naval Academy, and Reagan National and Baltimore-Washington airports.

Several backhoe loaders and hydraulic cylinders also were requested to the scene to help remove the mulch, fire officials said.

Around midnight, Brady said, “Firefighters will still have to remain on the scene for several more hours until the fire can be completely extinguished.” After six hours, more than 150 firefighters brought the fire under control.

No injuries were reported, and the cause fire is under investigation. 

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