Fire destroys 2 Clearfield businesses
CLEARFIELD — Buildings that housed two Clearfield businesses were totally consumed by fire Friday when a fast-moving blaze ripped through one and spread to another, injuring two along the way.
The fire broke out just after 11:30 a.m. at Clear Sky Biofuels Inc., 395 W. 200 South, North Davis Fire Chief Roger Bodily said.
The building was consumed by fire and collapsed, quickly spreading flames to a second building nearby, Bodily said. That business, The Cartel, is an automotive garage, which also subsequently collapsed.
Buildings that housed two Clearfield businesses were engulfed by fire Friday when a fast-moving blaze ripped through one and spread to another, injuring two along the way. Gary Clark, one of the owners of Clear Sky Biofuels, was in the building with his business partner and one employee, Clark's sister. He said he was sitting at his desk when he heard a boom and saw flames "right away."
"It was unbelievable," Clark said. "I couldn't believe it was happening."
He and the two others quickly exited the building in time to see "the whole thing go up." He said they were not processing any of the used cooking oils they clean and sell at the time.
"All the equipment was off. We don't know what happened," Clark said.
His sister, Sarah Barnes, suffered some "flash burns" on the backs of her legs. Clark's partner fell, hitting his head. Barnes was briefly hospitalized, but was released later in the afternoon.
Steven Spacil, who owned The Cartel, was also working in his office when he heard the initial explosion. He was worried a car had fallen from the lift and ran back to check on his employee, John St. Jacques, who was heading toward Spacil, and the exit.
"We looked out the window and saw the biodiesel place was on fire," Spacil said. "The whole building collapsed. It didn't affect us at first."
But it wasn't long before the fire did spread, claiming The Cartel, as much as $300,000 in property and equipment — and Spacil's future. The shop had been open for just over a year.
"My wife and daughter have some pretty serious medical problems," he said. "This (business) was a last gas for me. We put pretty much everything into it."
"We'll see what happens tomorrow, I guess. We'll see what's left."
John St. Jacques said he first heard a sound akin to rushing wind and then the doors were blown off the hinges. He could see flames through the gaps that remained of the doorways.
"I was booking it out of the shop," he said, noting that Spacil kept trying to return to save items. He also had to stop Barnes, who was trying to go in to make sure her brother was no longer inside.
"I wasn't going back in for nothing. ... I'm just glad everybody got out, everything that is irreplaceable," St. Jacques said.
While a damage estimate was not yet available, Bodily said both buildings were a total loss. The cause of the fire is unknown and may take days to determine, he said.
Firefighters from five jurisdictions responded to the blaze.
Jerimiah Lemieux said he and his wife felt a rattling in their home two blocks away that his wife initially thought was an earthquake.
"It was like shock and awe," he said. "Real thick smoke and real tall flames. It was surreal."
He was there to see the building collapse, venting a mass of smoke.
Eric Anderson, who lives a block away, said he was surprised by how long it took fire crews to get water to the site. He estimated it was 20 minutes.
"I had time to get dressed and walk here before they had water on it," he said. "The fire department is just over the bridge. As a Clearfield resident, that bothers me a little bit."
Bodily said emergency responders arrived within a few minutes, but had a somewhat difficult time getting the hoses to the flames. He estimated it took crews 10 minutes to get water flowing.
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03-05-2011, 07:51 PM #1
Clearfield Fire Destroys 2 businesses
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