EAST DUBUQUE, Ill. -- Two firefighters were injured today while battling an intense blaze at an East Dubuque salvage yard.

Multiple fire departments responded to the fire at T&T Iron & Metals Inc., 5158 Barge Terminal Road, just off of U.S. 20, at about 3:30 p.m.

The blaze filled the sky with black smoke, visible from miles away, as the fire intensified in the afternoon and continued to burn into the evening hours. 

Officials confirmed that no employees from T&T Iron & Metals were injured.

However, East Dubuque Fire Chief Joe Heim said two firefighters were sent to a hospital to be checked out. One was due to overheating and the other because of smoke inhalation. 

Heim said the cause of the fire is unknown. He confirmed that it did not spread to nearby buildings.

Reached shortly after 6 p.m., Heim noted that crews were still battling the blaze and explained that it would take a while to put the fire out completely, due to the quantity of scrap materials on site.

“The biggest issue that they are having is getting (the materials) pulled apart to get at the deep seat of the fire, just because of the complexity of the pile,” he said.

The estimated cost of damage due to the fire remains unknown, according to Heim.

T&T Iron & Metals is a family-owned business with two scrap iron and metal facilities that provides full-service metal recycling and e-waste recycling, according to company's website.

Fire departments from Menominee-Dunleith, Jamestown and Galena arrived on scene to assist the East Dubuque fire department in putting out the flames.

“We were just trying to attack it from all angles that we could,” said Elizabeth Heim, a candidate firefighter for East Dubuque.

East Dubuque Police Sgt. Mickey Huseman noted that "all (T&T) employees were accounted for and out of the building when we got here."

Bystanders stood outside and sat in their vehicles as they watched the firefighters haul hoses to tame the fire.

Katie Krasnodemski, an employee at a neighboring business, described the scene she observed in the early stages of the fire. 

"It kept getting bigger because things are blowing up," she said.

Heim said the fire became more manageable by 5 p.m. and it started raining while firefighters continued to battle the flames.

"The rain should help a little bit depending upon how hard it comes down," Heim said early Wednesday evening. 

A call placed to T&T Iron & Metals Inc. Wednesday evening rang unanswered.

Officials reported that the Frentress Lake water tower became low on water during the course of the fire being fought. On Wednesday night, city officials announced that the Frentress Lake Water System is under a boil order until further notice. Residents should boil water before drinking it or using it for cooking.

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