Updated: Structure Fire at Tire Shop on St. George Boulevard Closes Down Major Roads
Portions of St. George Boulevard and 300 West Tabernacle were shut down on January 3 due to a fire that broke out at Gene’s OK Tires located at 362 West St. George Boulevard.
As of 12:44 p.m. the St. George Fire Department is working to extinguish the flames as fast as possible before things get out of hand, especially with an incoming storm that could potentially fan the flames even further.
Tiffany Mitchell, the public information officer for the St. George Police Department, took to Facebook to livestream the scene of the fire while advising residents to stay away from the area.
Mitchell said, “So what we’re dealing with right here is between 300 West and Bluff Street on St. George Boulevard is closed down both East and Westbound due to a business fire here. So that means you can't come off of Bluff onto the Boulevard right now, so you're going to have to go North or South of the Boulevard to be able to access the other side of town here.”
Officer Mitchell said to watch your speed as you’re making your way around the scene of the fire and to not take any unnecessary risks. She didn’t provide an ETA on when the situation was expected to calm down, but the St. George Fire Department is currently on the scene working to clear the scene of any dangers as fast as they can.
We reached out to Chief Robert Stoker of the St. George Fire Department for a comment, but due to the chief most likely fighting the fire alongside the other first responders, we probably won’t hear from him until the situation has died down.
Update 7:07 p.m.
We were able to speak with Fire Chief Robert Stoker of the St. George Fire Department after the fire was extinguished and the roads were re-opened to the public.
Chief Stoker said while the sign says Gene's OK Tires, there is actually no such business occupying the building. In fact, the building is reportedly set for demolition in the coming years to make room for town homes or an apartment complex.
A few vehicle mechanics are currently working in the building and didn't even know the fire had started until some residents came into their shop and informed them of the smoke billowing out from the building.
Chief Stoker said, "It looks like what caused the fire was that they have burning oil heater, which a lot of repair shops have. Ever our fleet services with the city actually have those same types of heaters in a couple of their buildings."
Even though the building is not a tire shop anymore, some possible debris left over from the previous business may have caught fire in the upper floors of the building. Chief Stoker said this is partially what caused the fire in conjunction with the oil-based heating system.
Chief Stoker said, "So the heater itself didn't cause a fire but it looks like that flue, exhaust flue that goes up from that heater goes up through a floor from the from the next level and then goes through that upper room and then up through the roof and it looks like it either caught some flooring trusses on fire from the heat or it had some debris. That upper room used to be a tire storeroom and appears the tires are no longer there.
Luckily no one was hurt at the end of the day, but Chief Stoker finished our conversation with a warning for residents to clean their heating systems during these cold months since these types of fires can come from neglected heaters of all kinds. These faulty heating systems can also cause cases of carbon monoxide poisoning if not taken care of, which we have a full article covering those types of incidents as well.
Stay safe everyone and thank you to the St. George Fire Department for their quick action.