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MW Horticulture’s owner says new operating plan should help prevent fires; firefighters will still be watching

Posted at 10:53 PM, Jun 01, 2022

SAN CARLOS PARK, Fla. — Vice President of the MW Horticulture, Denise Hougtaling, addresses some of our questions following the massive MW horticulture fire that scorched for days in April.

When we asked, Hougtaling about her response to MW Horticulture being a fire hazard she says, “Well, I disagree.” she says, “Well Compose facilities are prone to fires… The same people who are saying that probably still use our services in-advertently.”

MW Horticulture is the only composite site in Lee County.

“We aren’t a mulch yard, so a compose facility is more prone but mulch yards have fires too. But compose facilities are more prone because we have to heat the piles up to a certain temperature,” said Hougtaling

Due to the temperature being so hot in April, a fire burned for days.

The smoke that filled the air at the center of US 41 for days was caused by a mismanagement of mulch piles according to the San Carlos Fire Department. However, Houghtaling says that her team did stick with a plan and had water running, and made fire checks.

Around 9 AM that Sunday, her property was up in flames.

“We do take responsibility, it is our yard, our material,” says Houghtaling

Months after the fire, we went back to the location and asked Houghtaling what she has learned from this fire exeperiecne and she said it is always important to learn from the incident.

“Anytime there is an incident you have to learn from it, you have to move forward or you are moving backward.”