CALDWELL -- A controlled burn at B&T Auto Salvage in Caldwell got out of control Wednesday evening when strong winds whipped the flames towards a pile of old car parts.

Caldwell Fire Battalion Chief Tim Scott said the blaze started when an employee attempted to burn weeds on the property. After spreading to the pile of parts, the fire moved to engulf three broken-down cars.

Luckily, those cars were sitting apart from the long rows of vehicles that line B&T's yards, so the damage was limited.

It wasn't as serious as some we've had out there in the past, Scott said.

The business caught fire last July, sending a thick plume of smoke so high in the air it was visible from Boise. That blaze tore through scores of junked cars and took eight hours and more than 300,000 gallons of water to extinguish. Another fire at the yard in 1996 took nearly 40 hours to put out.

By contrast, Wednesday's fire was out in 20 minutes, Scott said. Two engines and two water tenders were sent from Caldwell Fire and Middleton Fire.

Initially, it was a pretty decent-sized fire, but we were able to get it out pretty quick, he said.

Last year, B&T's owner told KTVB that he didn't carry insurance, and the blaze destroyed about one-third of his business. Scott said it was difficult to pinpoint exactly why the salvage yard keeps going up in flames.

It's an area that we've had experience with fires before, he said. It's just the layout of how it is and their practices out there.

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