Valley Auto heavily damaged by fire
Clif Knight, Hartselle Enquirer
Valley Auto Body and Frame Shop on Rooks Street was heavily damaged by fire Tuesday afternoon when a van that was being worked on exploded and caused flames to spread throughout the two-story building.
Hartselle Fire Chief Steve Shelton said the building was engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived on the scene at about 1:30 p.m. They were able to keep the blaze confined to the interior of the building, prevented stored paint and other combustible chemicals from exploding, and kept the fire from spreading to an adjacent auto repair shop and used car sales office.
"Fortunately, we had an engine company a couple of blocks away when we got the call," said Hartselle Fire Chief Steve Shelton. "That saved us some time."
Firefighters had the blaze under control quickly but were at the scene for over two hours cleaning up and conducting a routine investigation.
A spokesperson said after the fire was put out that it was apparently caused by a spark from a welding torch. She said an auto body repairman was working in the shop alone when the fire broke out. He was welding on the outside of a van and had shut off the welder when the vehicle exploded and burst into flames. He was knocked backwards by the blast but escaped without injury.
Shelton said the steel frame building was heavily damaged.
John Hines is owner of the business.