Oct. 21--LOWER TOWNSHIP -- A fire ignited when workers were removing a gasoline tank from a junked car destroyed the building at Cape May Used Auto Parts here on Shunpike Road Monday afternoon but all three workers, four cats and a dog got out safely.
Black smoke from the fire, due in part to burning tires, could be seen for miles on the clear autumn day. Fire companies from as far away as Dennis Township responded. There were no hydrants and water had to be trucked to the blaze.
The fire started around 1:30 p.m. and Chief Lewis Megonigalcq of the Town Bank Volunteer Fire Company declared it under control about one hour later.
"It was surround and drown. That's all we could do. It wasn't safe to go in there. There were several explosions while we were here," said Megonigal at the scene.
Megonigal said the building was a total loss.
Cape May Used Auto Parts owner Robert Cummiskeycq said the fire started when workers were removing a gas tank from a car and may have been sparked by a drop light they were using.
"The car was destroyed but that was a junker anyway. I'm just glad everybody got out," said Cummiskey.
There was no explosion, according to Cummiskey, just flames and they spread quickly.
"We had some good fire extinguishers but it was quick," he said.
Cummiskey said he has owned the business for 36 years but it was a car junkyard before that called Johnney Bumpscq.
Cummiskey escaped along with two part-time workers while the dog jumped through a window. He said he would like to rebuild.
"We'll see what the insurance company says," Cummiskey said.
Megonigal said the fire was already coming through the roof when firefighters arrived. Fire companies were there from Town Bank, West Cape May, Cape May, Villas, Erma, North Wildwood, Cape May Court House, Green Creek, Rio Grande, Cape May Point, StoneHarbor, and Belleplain. The Cape May Police Department, Lower Township Police Department, Cape May County Fire Marshall's Office, and Lower Township Rescue Squad also responded.
Copyright 2013 - The Press of Atlantic City, Pleasantville, N.J.