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A fire in an industrial shredder and escalator filled the Asheboro, NC, skies with heavy black smoke Friday.

The fire, which began at 12:30 p.m. at Covanta Environmental Solutions, in Asheboro, reportedly began in a rubber tire shredder, said Major Jared Byrd, the Emergency Management Coordinator with Randolph County Emergency Services.

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As of Friday afternoon, officials said the fire and smoke were not a threat to the community because of 5 mile-per-hour winds and wind direction.

“Right now, we are in the process of trying to figure out how best to take care of putting it out,” Byrd said.

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Asheboro Assistant Fire Chief Eddie Cockman said when his department arrived on scene, two rubber piles outside the facility were on fire.

“There were two piles burning, one about 100 feet by 50 feet and the other was 50 feet by 200 feet,” he said. “Both were burning at the same time. It was a very impressive fire at the time we arrived — there were flames 40 feet up in the air.”

Cockman added the only way to put out a fire of that type is to smother it.

“We called in the Greensboro HazMat team and they are in the process of raking the piles down to apply foam to them in order to smother them,” Cockman said Friday afternoon. “It’s going to be a slow process.”

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