Mohon: Another Fire “Explosion Destroys Building”

Wednesday, March 5, 2003 12:00 am

Fire raced through a building on Mitch Lane Tuesday, leading to several explosions but luckily no injuries.

Clay Mohon, of Northridge Drive, owns and manages Mohon Mowing Service, which was housed in the 40-foot by 80-foot building. Mohon said the fire destroyed all of his equipment including three tractors and three mowers.

“Everything got burned,” Mohon said. “But, luckily no one was hurt and that’s all that matters.”

Mohon said at least three of his employees were in the building but were able to get out unharmed.

David Grace owns the building, which housed Mohon’s business, in addition to four other buildings nearby. Grace said it was hard to tell exactly what happened.

“I know it got hot,” Grace said. “You can see some of the roofing on the adjacent building bubbling from the heat.”

While the cause is still under investigation, the fire is believed to have started when sparks from either a welding or cutting torch ignited material nearby and spread quickly throughout the building. The fire made its way to an acetylene tank used for cutting torches, causing the tank to explode. The explosion blew out the southern wall of the building, sending cinder block debris all over the side drive of the building.

West Side Volunteer Fire Department Capt. Beverly Farrington said black smoke from the fire was visible from several miles away.

“It looks like it may have been a repair accident,” Farrington said. “They do a lot of welding and cutting work on their equipment in there.”

“There were at least three or four explosions,” one witness said. “I stopped counting after that.”

The other explosions were likely gas tanks on some of the equipment stored in the building.

Jamie Butler, an employee at neighboring Maxwell Automotive, said he and co-workers tried to help with fire extinguishers but were too late.

“By the time we made it over the whole inside was on fire,” Butler said. “Then the fire caught the tanks and blew out the wall.”

The fire completely destroyed the building and all of its contents. Farrington said there appeared to be no danger from any chemicals that may have burned in the fire.

“If we suspected some serious chemical problems we would call the Hazardous Material Team or Disaster Emergency Services (DES).

West Side Volunteer Fire Department was backed up by Highland Fire Department to control the scene. The blaze occurred around 3:30 Tuesday afternoon.

Raed Battah is a staff writer for the Kentucky New Era. He can be reached at 887-3236 or rbattah@kentuckynewera.com



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