Wood County fire officials say spilled gasoline and a riding
lawnmower are to blame for the fire that ignited Pearce Petroleum in
Mineola Sunday night.
The fire started around 8 p.m. on South
Johnson Street, just one block south of downtown Mineola. It took
firefighters four hours to put it out.
Wood County Fire Marshal
Randy Selman says that the owner of the property spilled gas on the
ground when fixing a riding lawnmower. He used starter fluid to try to
start the mower, and the mower backfired. This caused the gas on the
ground to ignite, and the fire quickly spread to the building.
Fire Department spokesperson Steve Finley says super unleaded gasoline
was what many was burning at Pearce Petroleum Sunday night. The blaze was
hard to miss as citizens snapped photo after photo.
nothing but flames," says Ty Moss. Ty and his mother drove directly to
the fire to check on his grandfather's shop located just across the
"I was worried," he says. "I didn't know if my grandpa
was here and if he was here it would be really bad. I was worried we'd
loose all the motors and machinery," he says.
His grandfather has been making and repairing racecar engines at his shop on South Johnson Street since the mid 60s.
say there isn't much to worry about now that the threat of more fire
and explosions is gone. Now it's a matter of cleaning up.
they clean it up, we have to begin the testing process. Based on the
results of that test, the clean up will continue day after day until
they get down to the soil that's not contaminated," says Finley.
That contaminated soil will be properly disposed of by hazmat crews.
had to apply a large volume of water last night and that consequently
leads to a large volume of run off containing petroleum products," says
Officials say it may look like a mess, but it's a job well done by fire crews.
Mineola Fire Department, with the assistance of Lindale, Hanesville and
Quitman, put up a very extraordinary fire fight. Without their efforts
this very easily could have turned into a catastrophe that burned the
southern half of Mineola off the map," Finley says.
catastrophe avoided if you ask Ty, "I say we were very lucky, we were
very lucky because if we would have lost [the shop], we would have lost
basically everything," he says.
Officials say Pearce Petroleum's
main office building is destroyed but some vehicles and containers have
been salvaged from the property. The owner tells officials he is already
making plans to continue business as soon as possible.
has surveyed the property and determined the fuel spillage was confined
to the property. They tell Wood County officials there is no risk for
contamination of local water.
Saturday, July 26 2014 2:09 PM EDT2014-07-26 18:09:07 GMT
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