EAST HUNTINGDON (KDKA) — Smoke filled the air above part of Westmoreland County on Tuesday morning when fire spread through hundreds of tires, located dangerously close to several homes.

Thick smoke billowed through the air just after 10 a.m. from high above Sewage Plant Drive in East Huntington Township.

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But minutes earlier, Ed Siwuli knew something was wrong.

“It looked like a little garbage fire, and I thought, ‘that’s not right, nobody goes over there,’ and a couple minutes later it started gaining real quickly,” said Siwuli.

The abandoned salvage yard had been troublesome for neighbors and an eyesore. And as the fire spread, it became a threat.

“I called the fire department twice because it was catching the grass on fire and I was worried about everyone’s houses,” said Susanna Goodwin, a neighbor.

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Firefighters from seven municipalities assisted before the flames were finally brought under control with the use of foam blanketing the entire area.

Stifling heat posed the biggest challenge for firefighters.

“Smoke, heat and the depth of the tires in some places were six-, eight-foot deep,” Chief Jeff Keefer, of the East Huntingdon Fire Department, said.

With the charred rubble, neighbors felt frustrated and angered because they saw this day coming.

“Have been worried about this for a long time with those tires over there, then today it happened,” said Valerie Goodwin, a neighbor.

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Lynne Hayes-Freeland