SCRANTON, Pa.—Forget about the old saying, “Where there's smoke, there's fire.”
That wasn't really the case on Aug. 26, when Sandone Tire Car Care Centers suffered a loss after a massive fire broke out at its warehouse in Scranton.
“Actually, when it first started, we thought it would be out soon because there wasn't a lot of smoke coming out,” said Patrick Sandone Sr., president of Sandone Tire.
“But the fire department had a difficult time trying to find where the flames were and then the tires caught fire. When the tires caught fire, it was all over.”
After it was all said and done, the company lost three warehouse buildings, which contained about 40,000-45,000 tires, he told Tire Business.
Because two of the buildings were multi-storied and one came down when the fire started, Mr. Sandone said the cause of the fire cannot be determined. He did note that an employee told him there was smoke coming out of an elevator shaft, so it may have started there, but the company will never know for sure.
It did have enough insurance to cover the losses, Mr. Sandone said.
Sandone Tire owned both the warehouse buildings and the land on which they stood. What was left of the structures was completely removed from the property, but Mr. Sandone said there are not plans yet for the empty lot.
While Sandone Tire was dealing with the aftermath of the warehouse fire, it still needed to conduct business. The dealership briefly used a 10,000-sq.ft. warehouse behind the destroyed warehouses to store tires so it had something to sell.
The company then found and leased a 53,000-sq.-ft. warehouse in Dunmore, Pa., a town just outside of Scranton. That location, about 10 minutes from where the old warehouse stood, is just off an interstate highway.
“I think we got back in there pretty quickly,...in about seven weeks” after the fire, Mr. Sandone said. “We were actually in a warehouse with pallet racks going up.
“We've been loading in tires now for about three weeks. We still have a ways to go to put all tires in.... We had to do something fairly quickly to keep our wholesale customers happy. We didn't want to lose any customers.”
Mr. Sandone said that while having a temporary warehouse was helpful, “we needed to get our full warehouse back in operation. So we couldn't wait until we could build where the existing site was—that would be over a year. So we had to do this very quickly. And we were lucky to find this building.”
The company looked at various facilities before picking the leased structure, which is about seven to eight years old.
“It's a nice location and we like the building and we have enough storage in there now for probably about 80,000 tires,” he said.
Compared with the previous warehouse, which measured about 130,000 square feet, the new location is higher—with a 32-foot ceiling, “so we can go pretty high with our tires,” Mr. Sandone said.
To reach this reporter: [email protected]; 330-865-6143; Twitter: @jenniferkarpus