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The Daily Register - Harrisburg, IL
  • Wallace Auto Parts destroyed in morning blaze

  • Wallace Auto Parts and Service at the Saline County Industrial Park in Raleigh was lost to fire early this morning.
    Firefighters responded shortly after 3 a.m. to find fire coming through the roof and found little options of getting inside to control the blaze.
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  • Wallace Auto Parts and Service at the Saline County Industrial Park in Raleigh was lost to fire early this morning.
    Firefighters responded shortly after 3 a.m. to find fire coming through the roof and found little options of getting inside to control the blaze.
    "We were trying to make entry to the front, but it drove us out," Chief Mike McKinnies said.
    The power to the building is controlled by a large transformer that could not immediately be shut down so firefighters were limited in their ability to make an initial attack. Shooting a stream of water while the electricity was on could have resulted in electrocution, McKinnies said.
    McKinnies immediately called for aid from Harrisburg with its ladder truck and Galatia.
    Firefighters used water from a water tower and shuttled additional water with tankers from Eldorado, a system which provided adequate water.
    Oxygen bottles exploding inside created an additional hazard, but the fire was mostly controlled by mid-morning. Firefighters were extinguishing hot spots at 8:45 a.m. and waiting for an investigator of the Illinois Fire Marshal's Office. McKinnies said there is no suspicion of crime, but it is routine to call the Fire Marshal when the loss is as costly as the factory's.
    "The fire did start in the parts department in the office area," McKinnies said.
    Firefighters were able to protect one building and a pickup truck, but the main building and all equipment inside was a total loss.
    "He lost all the machinery and a lot of workers will be displaced," he said.
    Eldorado had 22 men, Harrisburg had 14 and Galatia sent five, McKinnies said.
    State Route 34 was shut down for over two hours this morning as firefighters battled the fire.
    Wallace Auto Parts and Service is known for using robotic machinery to craft automotive parts, agricultural equipment, mining equipment, custom manufacturing and utility trailers. It has been in business since 1984, according to the company's Web site.

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