BREMERTON — Motor City Automotive and a neighboring house to the north went up in flames Aug. 3 at the corner of North Callow Avenue and 11th Street.
Both buildings were destroyed, but there were no reported injuries.
Jeff Prichard of the Bremerton Fire Department said his department received a call at 12:16 p.m. Aug. 3 that a fire had started at the auto shop. Firefighters arrived about four minutes later and immediately declared it a two-alarm fire — meaning instead of the one-alarm crew consisting of three engines and a fire truck, the fire warranted twice that. BFD was then supported by crews from Navy Region Northwest Fire and Emergency Services, South Kitsap Fire and Rescue and Central Kitsap Fire and Rescue.
The cause of the fire seems to be accidental, though an investigation was underway to officially determine the cause.
“Earlier this afternoon, a couple guys were inside the garage working on an older-style Chevy Lumina,” Prichard said. “They were moving a gas tank, and the gas tank slipped off a couple of jack stands. They had a drop light that actually fell because of the gas tank falling. The drop light fell, broke and … ignited those fuel vapors. They had about a 4-by-4 fire initially that spread very quickly.
“Within a couple minutes, they had a fully involved fire which rapidly extended to the exposed house. It got in the second floor and basically caught the out house on fire.”
Prichard said both occupants made it outside safely, and that somebody went into the house to let the two dogs that lived there out of their cases. Prichard said he thinks both dogs ran out of the house, but didn’t know for sure.
Initially, firefighters attacked the fire using ladder trucks.
“We went defensive initially because of the fire conditions,” Prichard explained. “When we showed up, it was defensive fire conditions, meaning nobody’s able to go into the structure to fight the fire, so we have to fight it from the exterior. Because it’s a repair garage and we’re dealing with a lot of oil and gas … it’s a very hot, very fast-burning fire, so we needed a large amount of water, and we typically will do that from an elevated platform.”
Prichard said the two ladder trucks were able to pump between 2,000 and 3,000 gallons of water a minute.
The auto shop was destroyed, as were a few cars in the lot and inside for repairs. The building next door, which a bystander said had been recently remodeled, was also destroyed. A Bremerton Police officer said the fire didn’t really spread beyond the two structures, except “a little bit in the back.”