SLINGER — On Sunday, May 21, 2023, at approximately 7:23 p.m. (CT), a large pile of mulch at the production facility at Oak Creek Wood Products in Slinger, Wis, caught on fire. The fire grew quickly, consuming mulch, stacks of wood pallets, and then extending to two buildings.
In a statement, company owner Anni Guerrero, said, "As we arrived at the location, multiple fire departments were already on-site working to put out the fire,"
According to Guerrero, the damage sustained to the company's buildings was to its repair facility. "This incident has affected customer’s deliveries for pallets minimally, and by Friday, May 26, 2023, by the grace of God and our wonderful network of partners, we were able to secure a facility and will be fully operational again by the end of this week. This incident, thankfully, did not affect our new pallet production or lumber mill, so the vast majority of our customers and products were not affected. We will make continuous efforts to ensure that remains the case."
The biggest impact this fire had and will have is on our mulch customers, and for that, "we sincerely apologize."
At this time, the cause of the fire, and total damage are still being determined. "We are working with the Washington County Sheriff's Department as they investigate, as well as with local fire officials to break down the mulch pile to stop ongoing smoke incidents. The location is surrounded by wetlands, and we have built a corridor around it to prevent any spread."
The geographical location of this fire caused many disadvantages to the crews working tirelessly to keep everyone safe and save what could be saved from the fire. Multiple ladder trucks, strategically placed, allowed fire crews to reduce the flames enough for us to be able to send in our excavators and at the direction and in coordination with the fire agencies, have our machine operators begin to dig trenches and reduce the size of mulch piles to contain the flames.
"To the 45 fire departments spanning across six different counties, volunteers, and over 200 firefighters that quickly and professionally responded to and contained the fire and assisted in the difficult task of getting enough water to the site, we are immensely grateful for you all," said Guerrero. "We also want to extend our sincerest thanks to the businesses and residents in our surrounding community who came together and donated food, water, and numerous other essentials to the firefighters who worked endlessly. We feel very fortunate to be a part of such a supportive and charitable community."
Oak Creek Wood Products is dedicated to ensuring a safe environment for all employees and all residents surrounding our facilities and will be updating our operational contingency plan to proactively ensure this doesn’t occur again. In addition, our commitment to our customers and vendors is as strong as ever, as we are working to resume our core operations. We are working as diligently and as safely as possible to resolve this situation in its entirety.
Oak Creek Wood Products cannot thank all the firefighters and first responders enough for the tremendously harmonious teamwork they displayed in extinguishing this fire. We will forever be indebted to you all.
Nearly 50 agencies responded to assist in this incident. We apologize if any were missed in the acknowledgment.
- Slinger Fire Department
- Jackson Fire Department
- Hartford Fire Department
- Richfield Volunteer Fire Company
- Germantown Fire Department
- Allenton Fire Department
- Newburg Fire Department
- Boltonville Fire Department
- Fillmore Fire Department
- West Bend Fire Department
- Kohlsville Fire Department
- Kewaskum Fire Department
- Grafton Fire Department
- Merton Fire Department
- Ashippun Fire Department
- Lomira Fire Department
- Menomonee Falls Fire Department
- Neosho Fire Department
- Theresa Fire Department
- Hustisford Fire Department
- Ellington Fire Department
- Freedom Volunteer Fire Company
- Greenville Fire Department
- Black Creek Fire Department
- Ripon Fire Department
- Campbellsport Fire Department
- Kekoskee Fire Department
- Saukville Fire Department
- Port Washington Fire Department
- Sussex Fire Department
- Lisbon Fire Department
- Butler Fire Department
- Belgium Fire Department
- Waubeka Fire Department
- Fox Lake Fire Department
- Knowles Fire Department
- Sullivan Fire Department
- Southern Ozaukee Fire Department
- Fort Atkinson Fire Department
- Lake County Fire and Rescue
- Western Lakes Fire District
- Fredonia Fire Department
- Cedarburg Fire Department
- Tess Corners Fire Department
- North Prairie Fire Department
- Village of Waukesha Fire Department
- Lifestar Emergency Medical Services
Law Enforcement Agencies
- Washington County Emergency
- Community Center, Patrol Division and Detective
- Slinger Police Department
- Wisconsin State Patrol
- Washington County Emergency Management
- WE Energies Gas/Electric
- E.H. Wolf and Sons Inc.
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