Crews respond to scrapyard fire at business on State Road 2

Published: Aug. 11, 2022 at 11:31 AM EDT
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ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind. (WNDU) - Multiple crews responded to a fire at a scrapyard at a business in St. Joseph County on Thursday morning.

Crews were called to Weller Auto Parts in the 23000 block of State Road 2 around 9:35 this morning. 16 News Now is told that sparks started a fire while cutting parts for scrap. An employee attempted to put out the fire himself but was unsuccessful.

“One of the employees was cutting parts off a car, some errant sparks got in a vehicle, and he tried to put it out but ran out of water,” said Darrell Eiler, Fire Chief for Southwest Central Fire Territory (SWCFT). “He had his water can, and here we are. There are cars that have been towed here. They’re scrapping them, so they were cutting usable parts off them, and as I said, sparks got away from the employee and caught the pile of cars on fire in the far Northeast corner of the lot.”

Since there are no fire hydrants in the fire area, crews have had to travel to and from another nearby water source as they work to put it out. Thankfully, the closest hydrants are located at Wilson school, less than half a mile away.

“We got a call of an outside fire,” said Eiler. “Units Arrived on scene to find numerous vehicles on fire. Due to the volume of fire and cars, we immediately called for mutual aid from the City of South Bend, Warren Township, water from New Carlisle, and Galien Township out of Michigan. Warren Township Fire Department also assisted.

Five water tankers and a few fire trucks were needed to control the blaze.

“What they’re doing now is they got the large volume of fire out,” said Eiler. “They’re now moving cars with a big front-end loader to get to the bottom of the pile to take out any of the small fires that might be down there. We did get reports that the neighbors to the east might have caught their fence on fire, I don’t know any details on that yet, but a South Bend Firetruck went to that call.”

The fire spread to one neighbor’s fence, but SWCFT told 16 News Now that South Bend Fire put the fence fire out quickly and caused no additional property damage.

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