Area crews battle afternoon blaze near Benezette

BENEZETTE – Area fire crews spent several hours battling a fire that burned several acres along SR 555, east of Benezette, on Sunday afternoon. According to Elk County 911 email alerts, the Jay Township Volunteer Fire Department was called out to the area of 10461 Route 555 between Hulett Street and Summerson Road at 3:40 p.m. The Fox Township Volunteer Fire Department and Crystal Fire Department from St. Marys were both called to the scene at 4:12 p.m. Jay Township Deputy Chief Lenny Schneider indicated that the fire was pretty well-contained at about 6:30 p.m. "except for the left flank." He also said that around 50 area firefighters were still out battling the blaze at that time, which he estimated had burned "maybe 40 to 50 acres." He noted that numerous area organizations had helped with the effort throughout the afternoon. "We have a strike team for Elk County out of Elk Company 4. We have Elk Company 3, Elk Company 1, Jay Township, we've got Station 16 out of Emporium. We've got the Bennetts Valley Ambulance and Elkland Search and Rescue up there," Schneider said. In addition to crews on the ground, a plane also made several passes dropping fire-retarding materials to try to help contain the blaze. A representative from the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) was also reportedly on-scene.As of press time, there was no report of the cause of the blaze or the extent of the damage resulting from it. Pick up a copy of the Monday, April 30, 2012 edition of The Ridgway Record for more.