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Ash Wednesday brings several fires

Several Butler County fire departments responded Wednesday to several fires, which occurred, ironically, on Ash Wednesday.

Early Wednesday, firefighters were dispatched to a minor grass fire on I-65 at the 128-mile marker, according to Greenville Fire Chief Mike Phillips. He said the fire was small and was extinguished fairly quickly.

Shortly after the grass fire, the Greenville Fire Department was dispatched to a mobile home fire on Shadow Lane at which a spreading grass fire caused by burning garbage began to burn to the corner of the trailer. A large portion of the yard was burnt and the fire was extinguished before it caught the trailer on fire.

At around 2 p.m., the Georgiana Fire Department was called to a trailer fire and, upon arrival, found the mobile home filled with smoke, according to Chief Vernie Scott. Scott said the outcome of that fire was a near total loss as only some furniture was left.

Phillips said that at 2:46 p.m., his firefighters were dispatched to another house fire on Halso Mill Road. Someone had been burning trash and the embers from the burning caught the grass on fire, then caught a trailer on fire.

The trailer was completely destroyed but, according to Phillips, the trailer was unoccupied and used only for storage.

Another grass fire was reported on I-65 near mile marker 139. A large portion of the median burned but volunteer firefighters were able to extinguish the fire before it spread very far.

As firefighters were working to put out the I-65 grass fire, the Providence Volunteer Fire Department was dispatched to a house fire on County Road 11, just off of County Road 7. The home was completely destroyed and only the chimney was left standing.

The Butler County Forestry Commission also was busy Wednesday as they were called to the various grass fires.

Greenville Fire Chief Mike Phillips said that grass fires are usually a problem at this time of year due to warm and breezy dry weather. He said that anyone wanting to burn trash or land within the city limits must contact the Greenville Fire Department to apply for a burn permit and individuals who want to burn more than a quarter of an acre outside the city must contact the Butler County Forestry Commission.

"This time of year is bad for grass fires," Phillips said. "Many people are burning and cleaning and with the breezy warm weather, it is just not a good idea."

He said that people who smoke should also be careful when discarding cigarettes so as not to start grass fires.