KNOXVILLE, Tenn.-A Knoxville commercial tire dealership destroyed by fire July 2 has moved to a new location and is now working its way back to full operation. B*&*R Tire Co.'s two buildings were gutted after one of its vulcanizing machines caught fire at about 12:42 p.m. July 2. Employees in the plant noticed the machine smoking and called the fire department, located a block away. The dealership's 15 employees escaped the premises unharmed.
By the time firefighters responded to the multi-alarm fire, the blaze was consuming the plant, another building on the site and nearly 10,000 new and used off-the-road, truck and passenger tires in and around the buildings.
Firefighters spent the afternoon containing the flames before they were extinguished. The fire department said the fire was accidental, probably caused by a faulty thermostat.
Owner Bob Wright said the 14-year-old business suffered a $400,000 loss, and his insurance covered only part of the damages. The firm's seven service trucks were not damaged and continued providing service to commercial accounts, he said.
About two weeks after the fire, the dealership began setting up operations across town at a larger site, containing a 6,000-sq.-ft. building, about 10 miles from the former site.
The company has begun buying new equipment and providing all its services, except OTR tire repair which is being handled by another retreader until B*&*R can obtain new vulcanizing machines, Mr. Wright said.
He doesn't expect to be back up to full operation for a year. But shutting down the business after the tragedy never crossed his mind, he said, because ``we've got too many accounts to take care of.''