Debris, brush and tire fire create huge plume of smoke over Tacoma

TACOMA -- The fire started just after 5 p.m. Monday near the 5000 block of 12th Street Northeast near the Port of Tacoma.

Firefighters jumped on it right away and they immediately had their hands full -- lots of debris, outbuildings, old tires and vehicles were on fire.

They don't yet know what sparked it but neighbors had their own suspicions.

They say for years the property has been used as big dump.

"I know there were some people living in there. This was a few years ago. I don't know what all is in there, for sure. I know there's a lot of tires,” neighbor Ron McDowell said.

In fact, another neighbor said he saw a truck dumping a huge load Monday morning.

Firefighters sprayed the fire with water cannons from all directions; still, it took hours to get the fire under control.

Meanwhile, neighbors like Tony Holman used garden hoses to protect their property.

"I'm just trying to keep the grass watered down because we got some embers blowing across from the smoke here. We got a few lying here,” neighbor Tony Holman said.

Ardelle Heiberg was worried, too.

Her home is immediately across the street from the fire.

"We've already had two embers in my bark over there that have smoked and it's scary,” Heiberg said.

Tires are what made this fire difficult to control.

They burn very hot for a long time and they create huge plumes of smoke that wafted for miles toward the southeast.

Finally, police and firefighters were concerned about high voltage transmission lines that run right over the fire.

"Police officers say they are worried about the power lines coming down because they've been getting hot and they're drooping so that's why they're blocking everyone from going up there right now,” neighbor David Goebel said.

The good news is none of the surrounding homes were affected.

Firefighters will be at the scene all night and likely into Tuesday to make sure the fire doesn’t flare back up.