Firefighter hospitalized while responding to fire

Firefighter hospitalized after responding to Clinton Highway fire

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Firefighters were called to European Import Auto Parts, 3412 Clinton Hwy., around 5 p.m. Firefighters were called to European Import Auto Parts, 3412 Clinton Hwy., around 5 p.m.
A Claxton firefighter was transported by Rural/Metro to the hospital for severe heat exhaustion. A Claxton firefighter was transported by Rural/Metro to the hospital for severe heat exhaustion.

POWELL (WATE) - A firefighter was hospitalized Wednesday after battling a fire at an auto salvage business on Clinton Highway.

Other firefighters were treated at the scene after suffering effects from the extreme heat.

Officials say around 50 firefighters from Knoxville and Rural/Metro fire departments, as well as Claxton and Marlow volunteer fire departments, were called to European Import Auto Parts, 3412 Clinton Hwy., around 5 p.m.

A Claxton firefighter was transported by Rural/Metro to the hospital for severe heat exhaustion. The firefighter, whose name was not provided, was released around 10:30 p.m.

Firefighters say dangerous material inside the building, such as hydraulic oil and gasoline, made the fire difficult to contain.

Firefighters arrived within moments of the call to 911, but the intensity of the fire and weather conditions made it difficult to extinguish.

"We were totally overwhelmed," said Bill Kelly, the owner of a neighboring business who tried to help put out the fire. "It was too much for us to handle. We went to both sides of the building. We moved several cars. We saw some of the equipment starting to catch on fire."

Kelly said conditions got dangerous in a hurry.

"The fire escalated extremely fast. There were explosions from the building and when I saw that there was some fuel that could ignite, I asked everyone to leave the vicinity," Kelly said.

A fire investigator was called to the scene to determine the cause.

Auto shop employees say it was probably started by a spark that ignited fuel or oil.

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