MIDDLETON-- A massive plume of black smoke billowed from an auto salvage yard in Middleton Monday afternoon. The smoke could be seen 30 miles away in Boise.
The fire burned through piles of broken down cars at B&T Auto Salvage on Old Highway 30. Fire departments from Caldwell, Nampa, Parma, Middleton, Wilder and Star were called to help.
Kevin Marsh works at B&T Auto Salvage and called 911.
"I looked over and seen it and there was two cars burning," said Marsh. "I told them on the phone that the junkyard was on fire, more than one car. Once they catch on fire, it's hard to put them out."
As the fire jumped from one car to another, popping noises could be heard coming from the burning area.
"There's probably still some tires on the vehicles or there could be some containers like fuel tanks that still have some residual fuel in them that are pressurized, vaporizing," said Battalion Chief Brad Carico with Caldwell Fire. "There's enough heat there that they're just blowing up on us."
The lack of water posed another challenge for firefighters. Tender trucks were used to haul in water from two to three miles away. Once on scene, the trucks would dump their loads into three, 3,000 gallon portal tanks set up in the middle of Old Highway 30.
"So we're averaging probably every five minutes dumping a tender in one of the tanks," said Carico.
Carico says the heavy smoke from the burning tires and cars posed no danger to his crews or neighborhoods nearby.
"Crews who are in direct fire attack are in structure turnout gear and respiratory air to keep good air on them," said Carico. "As far as the general public, we have enough breeze today that the smoke is dissipating."
Carico says the cause of the fire is under investigation. He says it appears to be accidental.