KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — One person was hospitalized with burns to his arms, neck, and face after a small explosion started a fire at Dave’s Wholesale Transmissions on Maryville Pike Monday afternoon, according to a spokesperson with the Knoxville Fire Department.
Owner Dave Johnson is out of the hospital and recovering at his home after suffering first-degree and second-degree burns.
KFD responded to the fire around 4 p.m. Sections of Maryville Pike were closed until 8 p.m. as crews worked subdue the blaze. At the time of the explosion, six employees were present and scrambled to attempt to extinguish the flames.
Manager and lead mechanic Tony Ogle said 18 vehicles were damaged in the fire and two of those vehicles are irreplaceable. “A lot of good people lost a lot in this crazy accident,” he said.
Ogle said a 1947 Panel Wagon and 1960 Rambler were among the vehicles damaged when a fire broke out at Dave’s Wholesale Transmissions Monday afternoon.
Ogle said he was turning some wrenches when, “All of a sudden we heard a big boom, I looked up and turned around and the whole side of the wall was on fire. We grabbed fire extinguishers, but they didn’t touch it, it was just too far at that point.”
“There was no one near the area that caught on fire first. Once we turned around, we all grabbed a fire extinguisher and ran over there. Dave just stayed a little longer than he should’ve, he should’ve got out a little faster. He watched his whole life go up,” Ogle said.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This story has been edited after an update from Knoxville Fire Department that said only one person was injured in the explosion rather than two.