9 fire departments respond to Jones Mill fire

HSC Judge Dennis Thornton

On the morning of April 14, 2019, a fire was reported in Building 23 (Rod Room) of the
Hot Spring County Industrial Park at Jones Mill on Highway 270 between Malvern and Hot Springs. The report was made by an employee of another business in the Industrial Park.
Building 32 was originally used in the Reynolds/Alcoa Aluminum Reduction Facility which closed in the mid-1980s. The building affected is currently in use by the Hot Spring County Solid Waste Authority (SWA) for grinding and storage of wood products for reuse. SWA reports that there were approximately 300 to 400 tons of wood material in the building at the time of the fire. Approximately 95 percent of the material was comprised of MDF (medium density fiberboard) or pallets. The other 5 percent was miscellaneous wood products. Not all of the wood had been ground.
The cause of the fire has not been confirmed. The fire continues to smolder and has involved the roof. Due to the type of material burning, it is expected that the fire will smolder for several days.
Nine volunteer fire departments (seven from Hot Spring County and two from Garland County) responded to the fire initially and continue to monitor it on site. There have been no injuries or destruction of equipment related to the fire.
Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) was immediately contacted by the County Judge from the site. Out of an abundance of caution, Judge Thornton declared a state of emergency. That allowed air sampling to be done on the afternoon of April 14. Preliminary testing was performed by a National Guard partnering agency of ADEQ. Further testing is expected. Judge Thornton continues to be in contact with ADEQ and met with their inspectors on site on Monday, April 15.
Until released by the County Judge and ADEQ, essential personnel only will be allowed into the Jones Mill Complex. There are currently eight active businesses in the Industrial Park Complex. Persons other than those who are involved in firefighting, law enforcement, or work at the complex are asked to avoid the area.
Questions or concerns should be directed to Judge Thornton at the Hot Spring County Courthouse at (501) 332-2261.