Repair shop burned beyond repair

Friday, December 10, 2010
Billy Brown, left, and his son, Jeff, watch Brown & Son Auto Center burn at one of their Finley Beech Road buildings.

A Ford van's gas tank fell to the concrete floor and exploded Thursday morning when the vehicle was being repaired at a Lewisburg garage, but nobody was hurt, one of the mechanics said at the scene.

"Stop, drop and roll," Jeff Brown said of what he and his employee, Wendell Hurt, did to avoid injury in the fire that's consumed Brown & Son Auto Center, 901 Finley Beech Road. "It's all we could do.

"It caught me and him on fire," Brown said with his father, Billy Brown, standing by on the road as they watched "about 50 years of history going down here."

Extinguishing the fire proved to be a challenge, according to Fire Chief Larry Williams who explained that because of electric power lines and other cables on the garage side of Finley Beech Road, a fire hose was laid from a Belfast Volunteer Fire Department pumper truck and carried to an elevated position by a Lewisburg Electric Service lift bucket to spray water on top of the garage.

The city fire truck with an extendable ladder apparently could not get into position like the utility's truck.

"It's been burned completely up," Billy Brown said of the business he opened in 1965.

Billy Brown has not only been a long-time local businessman, he rotated off the Board of Directors of the Marshall County Chamber of Commerce late last year after a three-year term.

"We got three cars out" of harm's way from the fire, Billy Brown said. His business was insured and he's not ready to retire.

Brown & Son wasn't the only structure fire fought Thursday morning.

A house owned by Lyndal Bowen at 716 Crick St., caught fire near a clothes dryer and a gas water heater in a utility room, according to Fire Capt. Larry Baxter.

Smoke was coming from nearly 80 percent of the house when firefighters arrived, according to his report. There were no injuries.