Owner believes mulch fire in Paige was intentional

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by SHANNON MURRAY / KVUE NEWS and Photojournalist Chris Shadrock

Bio | Email | Follow: @ShannonM_KVUE

kvue.com

Posted on August 18, 2013 at 10:24 PM

Updated Sunday, Aug 18 at 10:28 PM

BASTROP COUNTY, Texas -- Fire officials said a large mulch fire in Paige could continue burning for several weeks.

Investigators are still working to determine the cause of the fire which started at a lumber processing facility run by Go Green International Inc.

Meanwhile, owner Dennis Parker said he believes the fire was no accident.

"We're very upset because whoever did this, it was done intentionally," Parker said. "It was not an accident of the company. The police are investigating, I don't want to go much further than that right now."

The company recycles damaged trees from the 2011 fires in Bastrop and turns them into bio mass fuel.

"We are the FEMA collection point for all of the hazardous trees and the homeowners trees from the Bastrop fires back in 2011," said Parker.

Smoke continued to fill the skies in Paige even after sunset on Sunday.

"Looks like smoldering lava back there on a big hill. So yea it's still kinda scary," said resident Deborah Ahlhorn.

Ahlhorn said while standing outside of her home Saturday evening, she heard explosions a few blocks away.

"I counted about 8 of them I guess," she described. "They sounded like the old timey sonic booms when the jet airplanes would make that noise."

The fire began around 9:00 p.m. Saturday night.

"It was really scary to think of all the wood here and a fire," Ahlhorn said.

Three 18-wheelers were destroyed in the fire.

Crews have the blaze contained to the 40 foot tall mulch pile and said they will stay on scene to monitor it for weeks.

"You have a lot of material that's of different fine sizes that starts burning, it's a very deep, dense pile," said Blake Clampffer with Bastrop County Emergency Management. "It will take a little bit of work, a little bit of time to burn and to cool down."

Even without much risk people who live in Bastrop County say they can't help but fear the worst after wildfires ravaged the area just 2 years ago.

"To see the devastation they want through first hand, losing everything, it was pretty traumatic," Ahlhorn said.

Fire officials say the smoke in the air will continue through Monday night and with changing winds, Lee County may be affected as well.

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