April 16, 1996
SENNETT — No injuries were reported, but the damage was heavy as explosions and a fire ripped through a Sennett auto recycling compound early yesterday afternoon.
Fire investigators were expected back at the scene early today to try to pinpoint the cause of a fire that triggered a series of explosions. The blasts sent thick black mushroom clouds of smoke and flames hundreds of feet into the air.
It was just after 1 p.m. when Gary Guy Jr., 20, was working in the "prep room" of Pick-N-Pull, an auto parts and recycling center just outside the Auburn city limits on Route 34, about 500 yards south of Potter Road.
The prep room was a metal shed about 20 feet by 20 feet, where cars were drained of their fluids before going out on the lot. Inside the shed were propane tanks and propane and gasoline tanks lining the outside. The shed was about 30 yards from the big red, two-story brick headquarters of the operation. The main building didn't seem to sustain any damage in the blaze with winds blowing smoke and flames away from the building.
Guy Jr. said he was alone in the shed, trying to remove an automobile's gas tank when he heard a noise.
"I heard a snap or popping sound and looked down," he said. "The flames were right next to me, crawling along the floor, so I wasn't about to start asking questions. I just started yelling 'fire,' and within two minutes the whole building was on fire."
— Compiled by David Wilcox