Two juveniles who had been playing with matches sparked a large, rapidly growing fire at the OK Wrecking towing and repair service off North 4th Street on Monday afternoon, Oct. 12. The fire drew multiple agencies and first responders to battle the blaze, including the Douglas Police Department, the Douglas Volunteer Fire Department and a handful of local utility providers.
The two juveniles had been looking for auto parts in the salvage yard. One of them later admitted to starting the fire “by accident,” according to Converse County Undersheriff Nathan Hughes.
The fire appears to have started on the northwest side of the property, Hughes said. Around 60 percent of the salvage yard was burned and the case remains under investigation. There were no reported injuries.
Hughes said no other information would be released on the juveniles.
Kathy Kokesh, office administrator at OK Wrecking, estimated between 200 and 300 salvage cars in the yard were burned.
During the fire, authorities at the scene said materials were exploding at the site.
The fire was first reported around 2 p.m. and was largely contained by 5 p.m., after groups including Converse County Road and Bridge, Tyler Exploration, OK Wrecking and A&W Water helped provide water and equipment for firefighters to help extinguish the blaze.
Meanwhile, a blanket of thick smoke drifted and hovered above North 4th Street as motorists drove by and tried to get a look from their vehicles while emergency responders battled the fire.
Some residents in the area provided access to their properties to assist in the firefighting effort, Hughes said, while other volunteers helped to evacuate animals and property.
Twin Bridges Road, which leads to OK Wrecking, was closed to regular traffic.
Other residents who lived near the site of the fire stood outside their homes to watch the smoke rise.
Douglas resident Terry Proffitt said his two sons and his grandson were playing in the backyard when the fire erupted.
“We saw white smoke and then it just escalated from there,” he said.