South Amarillo recovering from massive warehouse fire

South Amarillo recovering from massive warehouse fire

NewsChannel 10

Amarillo, Texas - A south Amarillo community is recovering, after a massive warehouse fire destroyed one business and threatened dozens of homes.

All is lost for Best Sign Systems, who has used the giant warehouse as a production facility for the past seven years.

They say the place was full of materials and machinery, and the losses are too great to even estimate at this time.

It's a fire that could be seen from miles away, and what sparked it is still unknown.

Amarillo Fire Captain Brent Clark says "We haven't had a fire like this in awhile. When you have a building this size with a fire progressed as much as it had, there is really nothing you can do."

The warehouse building went up in flames around 7:30 Tuesday evening, and more than 24 hours later is still smoldering.

Clark explains, "Right now we are just trying to cool it down and get the hot spots taken care of, so we can get the fire marshal out here to start his investigation."

Fire crews had a tough time fighting the flames that spread rapidly and produced an intense heat, that melted signs on nearby buildings, burned trees and power lines, and even put emergency equipment in jeopardy.

Clark says, "The radiant heat from the fire was melting things 100 yards away. We had trucks we had to move because it was blistering their paint and cracking their windshields. It was extremely hot."

Dozens of businesses and an entire neighborhood were at risk of the fire spreading.

It forced two families out of their homes, but the local Red Cross was on hand to help those displaced.

Melissa Benson with the Red Cross says, "We were able to offer them hotel assistance since they were unable get back into their homes. We had our volunteer teams on standby throughout the evening in case anyone else needed assistance. We were able to donate some donated chick-fil-a to our hardworking firefighters who were out here."

Fire fighters were able to contain the blaze, sparing the nearby structures.   

Meanwhile, Xcel Energy has restored power to the handful of customers, whose lines had to be de-energized, and they're now repairing several damaged utility poles.  

Despite reports of possible chemicals being inside the building the company says there were none.