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Brush fire fought for 7 hours in Clay Twp. on Monday

Fire crews from 11 departments spent several hours fighting a large brush fire near Byers Road in Clay Township on Monday, May 29.

The fire, which burned three acres of low-level grass, remains under investigation, according to Justin O’Hara, chief of West Sunbury Volunteer Fire Department.

O’Hara returned to the scene Tuesday to investigate potential causes and damage.

“It’s hard to say whether or not we’ll be able to find the cause,” he said. “It’s hard to tell where it started. I don’t know if it was accidental or on purpose.”

He said the fire was discovered around 12:30 p.m. by a neighbor nearby, who was about to mow his grass.

The fire had begun 2 miles away of Byers Road, O’Hara said, and had to be accessed by ATVs, brush trucks and tankers through thick woods.

A brush truck is a firefighting vehicle similar in size to a pickup truck. It carries smaller pumps and lighter hoses.

“It was a tight fit,” he said. “It’s at the top of the hill in the middle of the woods in an open area. No one goes up there.”

First responders from West Sunbury and Unionville Volunteer Fire Company requested the use of ATVs from Prospect, Oneida Valley, Chicora, Bruin and Herman fire departments and brush trucks and tankers were requested from Marion, Slippery Rock, Harrisville and North Washington volunteer fire departments. All responded to the scene.

Crews battled the blaze for four hours, wrapping up around 4:30 p.m., O’Hara said. They were called back to the scene at 6:21 p.m. when the fire reignited.

West Sunbury, Unionville, Marion and Oneida Valley units responded to the second activation. Crews fought the second fire for an additional three hours.

“It was not as bad as it was before,” O’Hara said.

The fire did not pose a risk to any structures, and no injuries were reported.

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