Carrollton and Chuckatuck Volunteer Fire Departments were dispatched at 1:32 p.m. Wednesday 12 November 2014 to a reported rekindle of a fire inside a 5000 lb. module of harvested cotton in a field off Birchwood Lane in southeastern Isle of Wight County. Both departments had already extinguished a fire in this same module the previous day but a second hotspot had broken out on the opposite side. Carrollton unit Brush-10 and Chuckatuck unit Brush-9 were positioned near the module while Chuckatuck water tank unit Tanker-9 was backed in to supply water to the two brush units. Carrollton pump apparatus Engine-10 was positioned as standby on a nearby road. Full PPE and SCBA were worn by the firefighters most closely exposed to the toxic smoke produced by the chemical defoliants used in cotton harvesting. Hand tools were used initially to break apart the packed cotton to expose the fire for extinguishment but because the fire was seated deep within the module, heavier machinery was required. A commercial wheel loader, owned by Suffolk Materials and operated by Carrollton volunteer firefighter Sam Cratch, was requested to travel about one mile from a nearby sand pit to more efficiently conduct this extensive overhaul operation. The large machine was used to shove part of the module away from a nearby tree line which was the closest exposure. A local Virginia Forestry agent was also on scene to advise firefighters in avoiding spread of the fire into the woods. Every effort was made to save as much raw cotton from the module as possible which was valued at more than $5000. After the cotton was spread onto the harvested field, hand hose lines were used to extinguish any remaining hotspots. About 3/4 of the cotton module was saved. All Carrollton and Chuckatuck volunteers and apparatus were cleared from the scene by 3:22 p.m. to return to quarters to clean and resupply their apparatus for further service.

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