PAMPA, TX (KFDA) - Employees of the family-owned wrecker service, trucking company and salvage yard said while they always had concerns being located next to a large grass field, this is the first time anything like this has happened.
“When we noticed it, we went out the back door and we couldn’t see anything but a little bit of smoke,” said Manager of Bob Douthit Autos Rick Garrison. “And by the time I got to the other end of the building, it was totally engulfed there was lots of smoke. And it just engulfed the whole back of the yard really quick.”
The burned storage units are only a small portion of the widespread damage that hit Bob Douthit Autos after Thursday’s grass fire.
One employee, Solomon Cruz, said he began moving as many cars and pieces of equipment as he could to assist the responding fire units.
“Probably five minutes after, ten minutes after, it had already spread from the front corner of our lot, on the southeast corner and just started going through the cars and catching cars on fire,” he said.
The business lost vehicles used for towing as well as about 80-percent of vehicles in the salvage yard.
“I’m speculating probably around 600 to 700 salvaged vehicles that we were scrapping out that either had been dismantled or were to be dismantled,”said Garrison. “We’ve lost I think five of our semi-trailers.”
Cruz said family, friends, and clients immediately reached out to them.
“‘Can we bring you food and water and what can we do to come help you, if there’s anything we can do?’,” he said. “I had numerous phone calls and text messages while we were out there fighting the fire and moving cars just to help reach out. They wanted to give.”
While little is being covered by insurance, the business believes it will recover and is grateful no one was hurt.
They said the plan going forward is to put up a new fence to secure the property, go through and save whatever parts they can, and crush whatever is lost.
“No one was injured and we still have a building so we can keep operating and we have a way to support ourselves,” said Garrison.
“The good Lord takes care of us and it’ll all work out in the end,” said Cruz. “It’s not going to stop us from moving forward, for sure."