Fire damages auto repair shop

Jan. 23, 2014 @ 08:31 AM

A wood stove that was the only source of heat for an auto repair shop in the Whitnel area provided too much of it Wednesday morning and seriously damaged the building.

Ray Price said that he and an employee were the only ones inside his business, Ray's Auto Service at 2302 Evans St. SW, near Southwest Boulevard, and were standing near the wood stove about 11 a.m. when he looked up and suddenly noticed a large plume of smoke. He called 911 and the two went outside and waited for firefighters to arrive. Price said he thinks a spark or ember that went up the stovepipe may have ignited dried leaves on the roof.

Firefighters put out the flames in less than 15 minutes, but the damage already was done, said Lenoir Fire Chief Ken Briscoe.

"They got lucky. It was rolling good when we got there," Briscoe said. "It was fully involved."

Fire damaged the back of a large storage shed and the rear portion of a service bay. Damages were estimated at $10,000, Briscoe said.