Roanoke Fire Causes Estimated $1.5 Million in Damage - - ABC13

Roanoke Fire Causes Estimated $1.5 Million in Damage


Reporter: Melinda Zosh

Roanoke, VA - There's new details Sunday night on the fire that destroyed a Roanoke business. The three alarm structure fire erupted Saturday night around 7:30. About 63 people responded to the call in the 1900 block of 10th St. NW at the General Truck Body Company.

The building's a total loss, and the investigation has turned into a big headache for fire crews. Fire crews fought the flames late into the night, until 2:40 a.m. Sunday. It took every man on board to put it out.

"It's been a few years since we've had a fire of this magnitude," said City of Roanoke Fire Marshal Daniel Rakes.

Rakes sent several of his men inside the building Sunday morning, but the investigation was cut short.

"Due to the billboards, the location, the potential for collapse we've not been able to get into the building entirely," said Rakes.

The fire was so hot that it melted two billboards. One is right next to a power line. That's when AEP stepped in.

"And the fire presence was so large we couldn't even get into the area to work," said AEP Line Crew Supervisor Herbert Coles.

Eventually power crews got in and killed the lines, leaving almost 100 people nearby in the dark.

"The high voltage was a hazard as well they couldn't get the water on it because of the high voltage," said Coles.

AEP crews worked all day to re-set the lines. Meanwhile fire crews can only estimate the damages.

"We've worked on some estimates this morning and we feel like we're up to about $1.5 million at this point," said Rakes.

The owners of General Truck Body Company wouldn't talk on camera, but they say 20 people worked there, doing things like accessorizing and modifying vehicles.

"I know just from personal, they've been here quite a few years. they do a lot of work for Norfolk and Southern Railroads," said Rakes.

There wasn't any visible damage on the vehicles parked outside the business. Fire crews say it's pure luck that the fire didn't spread that far.

The owners of General Truck Body Company plan to meet with insurance adjustors sometime Monday. In the meantime, they're looking for a temporary spot in Roanoke to hold business.

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