Barn, vehicles deemed total losses in salvage business fire

POSTED: 5:02 PM Mar 04 2014
Salvage yard fire
PITT COUNTY -

A fire at a Pitt County auto salvage business Tuesday afternoon destroyed a barn and several vehicles inside.

The fire happened at West Auto Sales & Salvage on N.C. 11, about 6 miles south of Bethel. Crews got the call at about 2:05 p.m. Tuesday.

According to the Bethel Volunteer Fire Department, one person was doing a fuel transfer inside a barn at the business. That was when the barn somehow caught fire.

The person was able to escape without injuries, fire crews said. But the barn and everything stored inside -- including engines, two race cars and a personal boat-- are deemed complete losses.

The fire was contained to just the barn. Fire crews said they spent about 20 minutes extinguishing most of the flames. Because the smoke was so thick, everyone on scene had to wear gas masks.

Investigators said they are still looking into what caused the blaze. No injuries were reported.

N.C. 11 in the area was reduced to one lane as crews fought the fire.

There was another fire at the same salvage business several years ago; that was a case of arson, a fire official said.