Tire fire at salvage yard in Frazer sends 6 firefighters to hospitals
Six firefighters were injured fighting a tire fire that ignited in a Frazer salvage yard early Sunday.
Emergency crews battled the three-alarm blaze at Hloznik Auto Salvage along Clarks Pike Road for about seven hours, said Brian Gouza, assistant fire chief with Frazer Volunteer Fire Department No. 2.
Gouza didn’t have an exact time crews cleared the scene, but he said it was likely about 4 p.m.
“It was a pretty heavy fire load,” Gouza said. “There was a lot of fire, a lot of smoke.”
The emergency call came in shortly after 9 a.m. as an unknown type of fire in the junkyard, Gouza said. When firefighters arrived at the scene, “a couple hundred” tires were burning.
Gouza said auto salvage employees told firefighters they were opening up for the day when they “turned around and there was smoke coming out of where the tires were.”
The fire spread to the pavilion holding the tires and to an attached building that contained auto parts and petroleum products such as propane and oxygen cylinders that “were heating up and blowing their tops off,” Gouza said. Some nearby vehicles also burned.
A damage estimate was unavailable late Sunday.
Smoke could been seen as far as 2 miles away by the Pittsburgh Mills mall as crews battled the blaze. Between 75 and 125 firefighters from 14 Alle-Kiski Valley fire departments — among them Arnold, Springdale, East Deer, Harrison, Tarentum and West Deer — were called in to assist, Gouza said.
Six firefighters were taken to hospitals with non-life-threatening injuries. No civilians were hurt.
“The initial guys who were there really got beat up with the fire,” Gouza said. “We were bringing people for manpower to help relieve everybody. Unfortunately, six people did get transported to the hospital for various issues, but they all seem to be OK and safe.”
Crews managed to keep the fire contained to the pavilion and building area, but had to bring in foam trailers to help put the blaze out, Gouza said. They used about 200 to 300 gallons of foam to douse the flames.
“It literally looked like it was snowing when we started throwing the foam,” Gouza said.
Gouza said the amount and type of material that caught fire made the blaze challenging. There were also issues obtaining an initial water supply.
“When you get that many tires and that much other product, it’s time-consuming and you have to do it right,” he said.
The cause of the fire is being investigated by an Allegheny County Fire Marshal, Gouza said.
Madasyn Czebiniak is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-226-4702, [email protected] or via Twitter @maddyczebstrib.