EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. (Dec. 1, 2006) — Fire investigators and police are investigating a burglary and subsequent arson fire that destroyed an Autotire Car Care Center Nov. 16 in Edwardsville.
A police officer reported smoke spewing from the tire store, located across the street from both the city's police and fire departments, at 3:19 a.m. Six other fire departments helped contain the blaze, which engulfed an undetermined number of tires, tools and equipment. The fire was finally extinguished about four hours later, according to Edwardsville Fire Chief J. Brian Wilson.
He said it appeared the fire started where the tires were stored and the burning rubber “gave us a lot of problems.” But winds helped to quickly dissipate the smoke, the fire chief added.
There were no injuries reported and no damage estimate was available.
In the aftermath of the fire, investigators saw evidence of a burglary and determined the fire started at more than one site with available materials in the store, according to Chief Wilson.
The police said a large amount of tools and an undetermined amount of other items were stolen.
St. Louis-based Autotire President John Ronsick said the five-bay retail tire and auto service store had been in operation at the site for 10 years. The company, which has about 23 locations in the St. Louis market, plans to rebuild the store, he said. Meanwhile, the store's eight full-time employees have been reassigned to other stores.