Fire guts apartment

By DeeAnna Haney | Mar 11, 2013

CANTON — Authorities closed a section of Old Asheville Highway in Canton Monday afternoon when a fire broke out at an apartment above Affordable Tire and Auto.

Flames were bursting out of the roof of the building when fire fighters and police officers arrived on the scene around 1:20 p.m. The residents of the apartment were not home at the time, although there were some people working in the automotive repair and tire store below.

Benny Coleman, assistant fire marshal for Haywood County, said it appears that the fire started outside on the porch leading into the apartment, although he does not know exactly what caused it.

More than 20 emergency vehicles responded to the scene and traffic that is typically heavy on the road was blocked for nearly two hours.

Fire fighters climbed to the roof and cut a hole in the ceiling to release pressure and prevent the smoke from causing the building to explode.

Meanwhile, firefighters stood at the entrance to the apartment and extinguished the fire with a hose.

Emergency crews were initially cautious of a propane tank and a nearby kerosene tank that were in danger of exploding, but did not.

The apartment was completely gutted and it appeared the tire store had smoke and water damage, Coleman said.

A car that was parked in the yard in front of the apartment was severely damaged from the heat of the fire.

Among those who responded to the fire were Haywood County EMS, Junaluska Fire Department, Clyde Fire Department, Canton Fire Department, Cruso Fire Department, Center Pigeon Fire Department, North Canton Fire Department, Enka/Candler Fire Department, Haywood County Emergency Management, Haywood County Sheriff's Office, N.C. Highway Patrol and the Canton Police Department.