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Blaze damages cars, roof at W.Va. auto repair shop

February 19, 2005|by CANDICE BOSELY

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

RANSON, W.Va. - A fire at an auto repair shop in Ranson Friday afternoon damaged a couple of customers' cars and a section of the building's roof, and sent an employee to the hospital for smoke inhalation, Independent Fire Co. Chief Ed Smith said. Fire crews were dispatched to Ramey's Auto Repair at 314 N. Mildred St. at 1:38 p.m. An "aggressive interior attack" was initiated and firefighters were able to extinguish the blaze in about 20 minutes, Smith said. Firefighters stayed on the scene for three hours, looking for hot spots. Tires and aerosol cans exploded during the blaze, but no firefighters were injured, Smith said. Damage was contained to a storage area, a section of the shop's roof and two of the six cars that were being repaired, Smith said. The fire started when an employee at the shop was cutting bolts off of a car on a lift. Sparks fell onto the floor and ignited a substance, possibly a flammable liquid, on the floor, Smith said. The fire has been declared accidental. An employee at the repair shop who tried to put out the fire was taken to Jefferson Memorial Hospital in Ranson for smoke inhalation. Smith said the man, whose name he did not know, is 28 years old. He said he did not believe the man was seriously affected. Clifford Ramey, the owner of the business, estimated damage at $40,000. Smith said the business likely can reopen soon, once debris is cleaned up. Firefighters put a temporary cover on the section of roof that was damaged, he said. Firefighters were able to prevent the blaze from spreading to Distinctive Design, a sign shop in the same building. Some water made its way onto the sign shop's floor, but caused no damage, Smith said. The building is owned by Dorothy McGhee. Mildred Street was closed for three hours. Fire Police volunteers and officers with the Ranson Police Department rerouted traffic. Around 25 firefighters were called to the scene. Initially, firefighters from Independent, Citizens Volunteer Fire Department and Harpers Ferry Volunteer Fire Department were called to the scene. A second alarm was sounded, prompting firefighters from Shepherdstown Volunteer Fire Department, Baker Heights Volunteer Fire Department in Berkeley County, and a fire department in Clarke County, Va., to respond, Smith said.

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