CHURCH HILL — Carters Valley Volunteer Fire Department Chief Mike Yates says there’s little doubt that a large tire fire Saturday night north of Church Hill was intentionally set, and the incident has been turned over to the Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office for investigation.
Yates said about 100 junk tires had been stored in a one-ton flatbed dump truck at a residence on Stinson Road off Landcastle Road.
Around 10:30 p.m. Saturday, Carters Valley firefighters were dispatched to the tire fire.
“The owner hauls old tires off for people and keeps them in that truck, and somebody came by last night and set it on fire,” Yates said. “The fire burnt the power lines, cable lines and phone lines — it was sitting right underneath them. The truck was sitting by the road and we definitely suspect foul play.”
Firefighters responded quickly and were able to save the truck, containing the fire to the bed, although the dump bed was damaged by the fire. The owner told firefighters he collects tires in the truck, which has removable sides on the bed, and hauls them to a recycling center when the truck is full.
The truck hadn’t been moved for about three months, Yates said.
Firefighters at the scene used about 3,500 gallons of water and 10 gallons of foam to bring the tire fire under control.
“This fire cost us about $300 worth of foam and about $200 worth of diesel fuel for the trucks, so it was a costly night for us,” Yates said. “We got the call at 10:36 p.m. and cleared the scene around 3:30 a.m., so this little arson took up a lot of man hours. We couldn’t leave because the power lines were on the ground.
“We stayed and kept the scene secured until the power company got there.”
Electric service wasn’t interrupted to the nearby community, however.
Yates said cable TV was out of service for a while, the phone line was “barely hanging together” and was still in service, and electric service continued thanks to a backup line.
Anyone with information about the fire is asked to contact the HCSO at 272-4848.