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Corncob pile fire continues to burn days later in Tipton County

Fire crews were sent to a corncob pile fire about 8:45 a.m. Dec. 18, 2021, in the 3200 block of State Road 213, just south of the town of Windfall, Indiana. (Photo Provided/Wildcat Township Fire-Rescue-EMS via Facebook)

WINDFALL, Ind. (WISH) — A “stubborn” corncob pile fire first reported Saturday morning continued to smolder Thursday and cause health issues for some nearby residents, the Wildcat Township Fire-Rescue-EMS says.

Five fire departments were first sent to the fire about 8:45 a.m. Saturday in the 3200 block of State Road 213. That’s just south of the town of Windfall and about an hour’s drive north of Indianapolis. Windfall has about 700 residents.

The fire was caused by spontaneous combustion, with weather conditions and moisture of the corncobs creating “the perfect condition,” the Wildcat Township Fire-Rescue-EMS said in a Facebook post.

“Forecast for next few days show wind from the south so Windfall will be affected at least till the 25th when it will shift from south to the North with some rain,” the post said.

The Wildcat Township Fire-Rescue-EMS has kept residents apprised of the fire because of its smell and smoke. On Thursday, the Tipton County Health Department and the American Red Cross agreed to help any residents affected by the smoke; they were asked to call 800-733-2767. A poster on the Wildcat Township Fire-Rescue-EMS Facebook page complained of a tight chest, nausea and headaches due to smelling the smoke.

The Wildcat Township Fire-Rescue-EMS Facebook page has been used to keep residents updated on the fire. The latest update on Wednesday said firefighters were working nearly 24-hour days to try to get the pile to burn quicker, and had consulted with the Indiana Department of Environmental Management and other agencies for help.

The fire and rescue team estimates more than 300,000 gallons of water had been used on the fire by Wednesday night, and a decision was made to no longer deplete local water resources to fight the fire.