Fire damages Lee’s Tires, closes nearby highway briefly


Firefighters continue to investigate the cause of Tuesday’s fire at a tire shop in Crothersville, investigators said Wednesday afternoon.

The fire, reported at 12:58 p.m. Tuesday at Lee’s Tires at 7144 S. U.S. 31, charred much of the north side of the building, said Crothersville-Vernon Township Volunteer Fire Department Deputy Chief Ben Spencer. He added the inside of the building was damaged by smoke and some fire that destroyed part of an interior wall.

“The fire damage was on the outside and a little on the inside,” Spencer said.

The business is housed in a block and steel building.

Spencer said firefighters battled a large volume of smoke due to the tires and windy conditions throughout the afternoon.

No injuries were reported in the incident.

Spencer said a batch of tires outside the building had caught fire, and eight departments responded to the scene.

“We’re very thankful they all showed up,” he said, adding the departments used about 16,000 gallons of water.

The fire produced clouds of smoke that could be seen for miles, and U.S. 31 was briefly closed as firefighters put out the fire.

Spencer said heat from the fire caused two 55-gallon barrel drums of used motor oil to rupture. The oil spilled out into the parking lot and caught fire, but first responders constructed a dam to stop it from spreading.

“We used Sphag Sorb and hazmat booms to build the dam,” Spencer said. Earth Care’s Sphag Sorb is an industrial-grade absorbent used during spills.

Firefighters also used an excavator to move burned tires away from the building and covered them in a foam so they would not rekindle.

First responders left the scene around 5:20 p.m., Spencer said. He said firefighters used thermal cameras to confirm there was no fire inside the building when they left.

Jackson-Washington Volunteer Fire Department and six departments from Scott County assisted.

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