2010-08-20 / Front Page

Vehicle fire spreads to house; man injured

By TIM GULLA Ledger Staff Writer tim@gaffneyledger.com

This fire at 820 Railroad Ave. in Gaffney erupted just before 6 p.m. Wednesday. This fire at 820 Railroad Ave. in Gaffney erupted just before 6 p.m. Wednesday. A man had to be taken to the hospital Wednesday evening for treatment of burns after a vehicle caught fire and spread to an adjacent home.

Gaffney Fire Chief Nathan Ellis was able to confirm Thursday, however, that the man’s injuries were not serious and that the man was able to be released following treatment.

Firefighters were called to 820 Railroad Avenue shortly before 6 p.m. Wednesday regarding a report of a vehicle fire that was spreading to a home. Ellis said arriving firefighters found a fully engulfed car and fire spreading into the attic of the home, which was just a few feet away.

Ellis said firefighters made an immediate interior attack and were able to snuff out the majority of the fire, but that fully extinguishing the flames took some time due to the construction of the home. The fire had entered the home through the eaves and made its way directly into the attic, forcing firefighters to cut holes in walls to reach some of the flames.

The man who was injured was removing a fuel tank from a vehicle outside the home with electrically powered equipment, Ellis said. “We believe the equipment caused a flash fire.”

The vehicle, which was sitting on a flatbed truck, quickly became engulfed in flames.

Ellis said the fire caused significant damage to the home’s roof and attic, including the support structures. “Everything that holds up the roof will have to be replaced,” he said.

Two rooms on the first floor sustained fire damage while the remainder of the home sustained smoke and water damage.

Ellis said the owners of the home and business at the location, Becky Henderson and Tammy Ervin, of H&E Scrap Metal, have insurance.

While firefighting efforts were described as routine, firefighters had to lay a considerable amount of hose to reach a fire hydrant several blocks from the scene. Corinth Volunteer Fire Department and Grassy Pond Volunteer Fire Department also responded to help Gaffney Firefighters with manpower.

Twice during the firefighting efforts, Gaffney authorities had to chase down motorists who drove over fire hoses.

“If we have people inside a home fighting a fire and they lose water, it’s a safety issue,” Ellis said. “That’s a dangerous situation for a firefighter.”

Both drivers went directly over a large 5- inch diameter hose that firefighters attached to the hydrant. Running over a hose can cause them to rupture or become damaged, and the metal couplings between the hose sections can become caught on vehicles and dragged.

“Without that water,” Ellis added, “we can’t put out a fire.”

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