The building at a West Jefferson-area junk yard is a total loss following a large fire at the business on Monday.
The fire was reported at about 2 p.m. at A.J.’s Auto Parts, 4759 U.S. Route 40. The business is located near the West Jefferson Commerce Park.
No one was hurt. All employees were outside when emergency responders arrived.
Scanner traffic initially reported a car was on fire inside the building. Several minutes later, dispatchers said the building was fully engulfed.
Firefighters had to tanker in water to the scene from the commerce park, according to Chief Brian Bennington of the Central Townships Joint Fire District.
Bennington called the blaze “a defensive fire.”
The building was fully engulfed when firefighters arrived about one minute and 20 seconds after the fire was dispatched, he said. Several cars outside the building were also burned from radiant heat.
Three hoses were used to spray water onto the flames, he said. Five fire engines and 10 tankers were on scene to assist.
The fire was fed by tires. Bystanders also reported hearing explosions, likely a result of propane tanks inside the building. Smoke could be seen from as far as South Charleston, witnesses said on Facebook.
A man who identified himself as an employee told The Press the fire started while workers were draining a gas tank and an electric spark hit the gas. He declined to provide his name.
Bennington said he could not confirm the report. The State Fire Marshal’s office will conduct an investigation, he said. He did not expect anything suspicious, he noted.
The eastbound lanes of U.S. 40 were shut down for several hours while crews fought the fire. Bennington expected to remain on the scene for several hours for clean-up.
Fire crews from the London, Mechanicsburg, Pleasant Valley, Harmony Township, Jefferson Township, Central Townships, Prairie Township, Tri-County and Springfield Township were on the scene.