Crews spent most of the day battling a massive tire fire in Bedford County.
More than 300 tires were in the pile that caught fire at the Highlands’ Tire Center along Raystown Road in Everett.
Jake Harman and his family live across the street from the tire center. When the fire started, they were told to evacuate. But when the call came to help, Harman didn’t hesitate. He said, “Brought a backhoe, our skid steer loader with power forks and tried to get tires out before they caught fire.”
Harman and other neighbors worked through the flames, as firefighters dumped 12,000 gallons of water per minute. And even with the water, you could still feel the heat.
“It was closed, the air conditioner on high and I could still feel the heat coming through the glass,” said Harman. Moving the tires also kept the flames from spreading to nearby trees and homes.
Dave Cubbison, Bedford County EMA Director, said, “People were coming in, commanders at the scene were giving them direction, they were following it, pulling these unburned tires away from the fire.”
Emergency officials did evacuate people from 12 homes, moving them to a church in Everett. “This kind of petrochemical fire that comes from fires is a thick, black smoke that is not good to breathe. You cannot see more than a foot or two in front of you,” said Cubbison.
Even when the flames were gone, crews were still working to cool the tires. But without the help of neighbors, the damage could have been much worse.
Cubbison said, “People, when you ask for something, will give it you and then some. What happened was when we called for equipment, all at once we had virtually all the equipment that we needed.”
“Feels good to I don’t know help out, I guess,” said Harman.
As of now, they do not know how the fire started.
Cubbison said one person was transported to the hospital, but we don’t have any information on who it was or why they were taken there.