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Flames Tear Through Huntington Auto Repair Shop

Reported: Mar. 16, 2014 10:13 AM EDT
Updated: Mar. 16, 2014 6:42 PM EDT
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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (Katy Brown) -- Looking at Express Automotive on Seventh Avenue in Huntington early Sunday morning, you could see huge orange flames shooting from the roof.

"I ran out the front door, and I saw the AutoCare Center on fire. There were flames like shooting sky high," Rose Becker, who lives just across the alley from the business, said.

Thankfully, Huntington Fire Chief Carl Eastham said his department got to the business fast.

"The fire was already coming through the roof of the building when they arrived, rising some estimated 70 feet in the air," Eastham said.

Firefighters frantically tried to do all they could to knock down the intense flames.

Crews kept spraying water, trying to bring it under control and were able to stop the burning within about a half hour using several entry points.

Come daylight, every piece of the business was left charred.

Only a cement wall is still standing and the inside of the building was gutted.

"When they get that kind of a jump on us, there's not a whole lot we can do," Eastham said. "And the building probably sustained around a 90 percent total loss."

Express Automotive employees said inside the building were cars, personal tools and even some chemicals, much of what is now lost.

And people living just across the alley from the business were scared they would lose a lot to the flames as well.

"I started to worry that maybe my apartment was going to catch on fire," Becker said. "I was just going to grab a bag and go because obviously it's more important for me to be out."

Luckily, the fire didn't spread and no one, including the employees and firefighters, were hurt.

Now neighbors hope the popular business will rebuild.

"Think of you, praying for you," Becker said. "Hope that you can come back from this."

The cause of the fire is currently unknown. Fire marshals will be on scene Monday to investigate.




HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (Mamie Buoy, Sean Delancey) - A local business owner is picking up the pieces after flames tore through his auto repair shop.

The fire happened at Express Automotive in the 1500 block of 7th Avenue shortly after 3:30 a.m. Sunday.

Huntington firefighters got to the scene within minutes, but say flames were already shooting through the roof of the building.

Nobody was inside the business when the fire started.

The cause of that fire has not been determined.



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