Investigation is underway into the cause of a Tuesday morning fire that destroyed D&J's Auto Clinic at 502 E. Cherokee in Wagoner. The business, owned by Jason Smith, has occupied the location across from the Carnegie Library for about a year and a half.
Wagoner Fire Chief Kelly Grooms confirmed there was a stove in the building; however, Smith told firefighters he heard wire sizzling before the blaze began. There were two people in the building at the time and neither one was injured.
"It will be hard to tell the cause from this (damage) here, so a lot will be determined from our interviews. We'll have to finish talking to them," Grooms said late Tuesday afternoon.
Loss estimates have yet to be determined.
Firefighters were paged out at 8:13 a.m. Tuesday, just moments after the fire call came in. Grooms, who was on the city's east side at the time, said Engine 1 was caught on Cherokee Street by a train, so he picked up Engine 3 that is stationed at the police department to respond.
When he arrived on scene, large vents on top of the building were boiling with heavy smoke. Engine 1 arrived around the same time.
Billowing black smoke could be seen for several miles.
"They had an attic and a false ceiling, with a lot of distance between the two," Grooms noted. "When they tore one of the false ceilings down, the fire was up in the attic and the flames were going."
According to the fire chief, there were four or five vehicles parked inside the building. Explosions heard from inside could have been gas tanks on the cars exploding. Tires were also blowing up.
"Some of that could have contributed to the wall falling," he added.
Several automobiles in the parking lot were able to be successfully moved from the building.
While firefighters from Wagoner, Toppers and Whitehorn Cove battled the blaze, City of Wagoner utility crews were on scene to loosen utility lines.
Grooms said siding on the building immediately east of D&J's Auto Clinic melted from the intense heat. Whitehorn Cove firefighters kept the building cooled down to prevent a fire from starting.
"It could have been a problem had the fire spread to that house, forcing us to spread resources out," the fire chief noted. "We have two (Wagoner) firefighters on shift and another full timer who were here, along with several volunteers. This would have been a whole different thing without our volunteers."
"We also have county-wide volunteers in that we get help from other departments," Grooms added. "A few Tulsa firefighters who were going through town stopped to help and Wagoner County Emergency Management Assistant Director Brandon Wren conducted safety checks to make sure everyone was okay."
Tuesday's fire at D&J's Auto Clinic is the third structure fire Wagoner firefighters have been called out on in the past week. Residential fire calls late last week included an attic fire and a grease fire that spread into an attic.