Surveying Fire Damage at Roanoke Business - - ABC13

Surveying Fire Damage at Roanoke Business


Reporter: David Tate

Roanoke, VA - Fire investigators are still waiting to get inside General Truck body after the massive fire there over the weekend.

They want to know what caused the fire that burned into early Sunday morning, causing about $1.5 million in damage so far.

That number could certainly go up because, like fire investigators, insurance adjusters are also on hold as they all wait for a contractor to come in to ensure the ruined building is safe enough to enter.

Roanoke's Assistant Fire Marshal spent Monday afternoon meeting with contractors qualified for the heavy lifting needed before anyone can get into General Truck Body Company.

The big problem is this charred billboard that is hanging precariously over the area of the building investigators need to get to.

"We think that's the area the fire started, but it's unsafe for them to get underneath it as you can see. It's leaning over there and it could give way at any time," said Assistant Fire Chief Ralph Tartaglia with the Roanoke City Fire Department.

Until that's done, everyone is on hold from insurance adjusters to delivery drivers like Randy Hill who just came in from Maryland.

"Sit and wait. Gotta wait for an insurance adjuster to get here... could be three hours, could be a day. You never know," said Hill.

General Truck Body spends much of the time converting trucks into vehicles needed by Norfolk Southern, a fabricating and machine shop that was filled with all sorts of material that made fighting this fire very difficult work.

"They have all sorts of stuff. Not counting the vehicles that were in the building; the paints, the thinners, the oil, fuel for the vehicles, tires," said Tartaglia.

A fire that could have been much worse had it made it into hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of inventory that was parked just outside.

"As close as those vehicles are and as many of them as they are it would have been difficult if it got into a few of them," said Tartaglia.

Two firefighters were injured fighting this fire. One of those men has already returned to duty while a second firefighter, who sprained his ankle, is expected return to duty within a couple of days.

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