ADPS crews respond to tire shop fire on Edgefield Highway, structure total loss


AIKEN, S.C. (WJBF) – An Aiken business remains closed after a massive fire on Wednesday morning.

The owner of El Amigo II Tires, Felipe Cruz, didn’t want to be interviewed on camera, but he told WJBF NewsChannel 6 off camera that his business is not insured.

Cruz watched as his used tire shop went up in smoke. He says El Amigo Tires II, on Edgefield Highway, has been around for about 5 years.

Cruz tells WJBF NewsChannel 6 that his brother and business partner went to open the shop Wednesday morning, when he heard what sounded like an explosion and then he saw flames. Cruz says his brother tried to put out the fire, but it spread too rapidly. He was able to get out safely.

Nearly 1,000 tires were in the building, making it tricky for firefighters to extinguish the flames.

“Tires don’t burn easily, but once they get started it’s very, very hard to put out.” Lt. Jake Mahoney, of the Aiken Department of Public Safety, told WJBF NewsChannel 6. “It’s a great fuel, it’s made out of rubber and petroleum products. Once they get started, they are hard to put out.”

Firefighters battled the fire for nearly 4 hours and were able to contain it from spreading to the house next door.

Cruz says his brother and business partner lives in the house. The heat from the fire did cause some damage to the home, but the damage was minor compared to the total loss of their business.

Mahoney says because the tires were feeding the flames, the heat caused the roof to cave in.

The Aiken Department of Public Safety had to use a backhoe to demolish the walls, so they could extinguish the tires that were still burning under the collapsed roof and finally get a good look at the damage.

“With that amount of fire and that amount of fuel, the tires inside the business there’s really no advantage of going inside the building.” Mahoney said.

Edgefield Highway was shut down for several hours, but it reopened around 1:30 p.m.

Cruz says he’s hopeful to rebuild his business.

At this time, ADPS cannot say what started the fire.

Count on WJBF NewsChannel 6 to bring you the latest on this developing story. 

AIKEN, S.C. (WJBF) – Crews are working to extinguish a fire at El Amigo Tires II in Aiken.

The owner of the tire store tells WJBF NewsChannel 6 his worker, who lives next to the shop, went to open the building when he heard what sounded like an explosion and then he saw flames.

He says his employee tried to put out the fire, but couldn’t. He fortunately was able to get out of the building safely.

Leuientanent Jake Mahoney, of Aiken Public Safety, says tires don’t catch on fire easily, but once they do it’s hard to put it out.

Right now, ADPS and several other fire departments are trying to determine how to tear down what’s left of the structure to get those tires and put out what’s left of the fire. Since the roof collapsed, and it’s a total loss, ADPS is considering using a backhoe or getting an excavator to tear down the walls and make it easier to get inside.

At this time, investigators cannot say what started the fire.

ADPS has been able to contain the fire, but it will be sometime before they are able to completely put it out.

The owner of the shop says they don’t have insurance, but are hopeful to rebuild their business.

Count on WJBF NewsChannel 6 to bring you the latest on this developing story. 

AIKEN, S.C. (WJBF) – Crews responding to the scene of a fully involved tire fire in Aiken County, Wednesday morning.

Officials tell us the call came in just before 9 a.m.

The fire started at El Amigo Tires on the 1300 block of Edgefield Highway.

No injuries are reported at this time.

No word yet on what may have caused the fire.

Traffic is currently being diverted in the area.

Count on NewsChannel 6 for more details as the become available.

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