Accidental fire ignites at Roan Mountain business

Photo By Rick Harris
Firefighter Andy Stewart puts water on a fire at Blevins Auto near Whitehead Hill. Flames reached about 30 feet in the air and smoke was visible from Roan Mountain.

By Abby Morris
Star Staff
A column of smoke was visible for miles away after a fire was ignited at an auto salvage yard on Highway 19E.
The fire started accidentally at Blevins Auto Enterprise, located in Roan Mountain, according to the business' owner, Mike Blevins.
Employees of Blevins Auto Enterprise had been working in an area of the business' lot crushing cars when the fire started, Blevins said. The fire ignited a pile of car parts, gasoline tanks and tires. "There must have been a spark or something that ignited a gas tank that had a small amount of gas in it and that caught the tires on fire," Blevins said. "It all happened so fast."
Blevins stated that when his employees remove gasoline tanks from cars they drain the gasoline out of the tanks but it is impossible to remove all of the gasoline and sometimes a small amount of gasoline or gasoline residue remains.
Elizabethton/Carter County Emergency Management Agency Director Ernest Jackson responded to the scene to make sure the fire was contained due to the fact that gasoline tanks and possibly an oil spill was involved. "There was some oil run off but as far as we can tell it ran off into a field," Jackson said. "I am going to check again to make sure that it did not run into a creek or a branch though."
Firefighters from the Roan Mountain Volunteer Fire Department along with assistance from members of the Hampton-Valley Forge Volunteer Fire Department responded to the scene and extinguished the fire. The Volunteer Fire Department from Elk Park, N.C. also responded to the scene with tanker trucks to provide additional water with which to fight the blaze. "I'm really thankful for these firefighters," Blevins said. "They have all done a real good job."
Members of the Carter County Rescue Squad responded to the scene to make sure that no one was injured. "I am just really thankful that no one go hurt," Blevins said.
According to a firefighter from the Roan Mountain department, smoke from the fire was visible from the Roan Mountain VFD station. A firefighter from the Hampton-Valley Forge Fire Department stated that upon his arrival at the scene, flames from the fire were approximately 30 feet high.