Firefighters battle blaze at B20 Auto Salvage Yard

(Above) The Clear Lake Fire Department responded to a large structural fire at B20 Auto Salvage Yard on Monday, Nov. 4.  -Photo courtesy of Mike Quinn

By Michelle Watson

It was a bit of deja vu for the Clear Lake Fire Department when they were dispatched to a fire call at B20 Auto Salvage Yard, in the 7600 block of 300th St., in Clear Lake, on Monday, Nov. 4, at 1:27 p.m.

This is the second time that B20 had an incident that required the aid of the fire department.  Three years ago, on Nov. 9, 2016, the company also had a substantial fire.  It was the rebuilt structure from that fire that was destroyed on Monday.  The property, which is insured, is owned by Gene Baker.

Upon arrival at the scene, crews reported heavy smoke and fire coming out of the shop area.  Firefighters concentrated efforts to protect multiple exposures and contained the fire to the building.

Employees aided the department by removing collapsed sections of steel siding and roofing material with construction equipment.

The building and contents were a total loss with damage estimated at over $100,000.  The cause of the fire was determined to be from an employee drilling through a gasoline tank off an auto being salvaged and igniting residual fuel remaining in the tank.  Employees had safely evacuated prior to the fire department’s arrival.

The Clear Lake Fire Department responded with four companies with 15 firefighters.  They were assisted by the Ventura Fire Department with three companies and eight firefighters; the Fertile and Hanlontown Fire Departments responded with two tankers and four firefighters.  Also assisting was the Cerro Gordo County Sheriffs Office, Iowa State Patrol and DOT traffic enforcement.

Firefighters were again dispatched Monday night, due to the fire reigniting.

“I would like to give the local fire departments a plug.  They came out and worked so hard.  They were the best,” said Baker.

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