For Lexington firefighters, recycling center fire posed 2 risks: collapse and heavy smoke

Firefighters faced a unique challenge Friday afternoon when a blaze started in the paper stacks of a Lexington recycling company.

The fire at Central Kentucky Fiber Resources on Angliana Avenue was small, but paper caused heavy smoke to fill the building, Battalion Chief Jeff Nantz said.

When firefighters entered the building, large cardboard bales caused concern, Nantz said. The bales were stacked as high as 10 feet, and if sprayed directly with water, they could collapse.

"So we went to plan B," Nantz said.

One of the firefighters operates a front-end loader when he's not on duty, Nantz said. That firefighter used one of the recycling company's front-end loaders to start pulling the paper piles from the building so other firefighters could spray them down.

The firefighter driving the front-end loader had to wear a breathing mask while in the building because of the heavy smoke.

"Firefighters are multitalented," Nantz said with a laugh.

Two recycling company employees were treated by paramedics, Battalion Chief Joseph Best said. No one else was injured.

"It's unique," Nantz said. "We're putting a lot of effort and manpower into a really small fire, but in this case, that's how it had to be done."