Report on fire in slum area

A fire erupted at G&R Foreign Auto Wreckers on 4825 Ridge Drive NE around 2 p.m. Wednesday.

Salem Fire Department first received a report of the fire at 2:03 p.m., according to Chief Carl DeCarlo.

Roughly 22 Salem Fire officials responded to the scene.

There have been no reports of injury at this time, DeCarlo said, but one firefighter was being evaluated for heat exposure, according to Deputy Fire Marshal Laird Case.

Four engines and a ladder truck responded after G&R workers reported the fire. They'd been using a torch to cut a part from a junked car when the vehicle ignited.

"They initially tried to extinguish it with an extinguisher they had present, but it got too big, too fast," said Case. 

Photos: Fire in Salem


Residents of nearby houses were asked to leave the area while firefighters were working.

Evan Roth, who was at his brother's property within eyesight of the junkyard, thought at first the fire was someone burning trash.

"People burn fires that are kind of questionable," said Roth.

But after he started hearing frequent, small explosions and saw the black smoke billowing from G&R, he realized it was something else.

"We were like 'OK, that's probably not just people screwing around,'" he said.

The fire was contained a little after 3 p.m., but Case said firefighters would be on the scene for most of the afternoon.

There are a number of downed power lines as a result of the fire.

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