WASHINGTON — John McGuire knew exactly what he was looking at as he drove into a stretch of Route 17, in Washington, Saturday evening, July 10. Based on the thick black smoke sifting into the air from the property of Ron Jackson’s Auto Sales and Scrap Yard, McGuire also had a good idea of the intensity of the scene he would soon help to modify.
By the time firefighters would arrive on scene, two large structures on the property would be fully engulfed in flames.
While Knox Regional Communications Center began dispatching fire departments at approximately 7:22 p.m., McGuire was pulling his vehicle to the side of Route 17 and racing to help a frantic family move vehicles away from a growing, rapidly spreading fire. Route 17 would soon be closed between Vanner Road and the Route 17/Route 220 intersection.
Having begun in a small structure on the property, sparks and flames quickly gained the upper hand, claiming the two larger structures, as well.
Just as McGuire, the Jackson Family, and others had been driven to remove vehicles from the path of destruction, firefighters would soon tackle their own prevention measures on the other side of an enflamed garage – knocking down flames before they jumped across a driveway and into the family’s home. That home was left unscathed.
Fire tankers stayed in constant motion, racing at least a mile from a water source to the east, along Route 17, dumping water into two on-scene holding pools; lights, sirens, backup beeps, blaring horns, and frayed nerves accompanying the hot, intense glow from within the structures they were trying to salvage.
Fire departments included Washington, Liberty, Union, Hope, Appleton, Jefferson, Somerville, and Whitefield.
This article will be updated as more information becomes available.
Reach Sarah Thompson at email@example.com