The rusted skeletons of cars and a shed were all that remained next door to Callaghan Tire the morning after Thursday’s five-alarm fire in Bradenton.
Callaghan Tire shipping and receiving manager Rick Paree assessed the damage around 7:30 a.m., expecting that thousands of tires were destroyed at their tire retread plant at 1301 44th Ave. E., just next door to the bare bones of an auto repair shop. Paree heard an explosion that afternoon, which he said sounded like tires blowing up. Strong winds blew black smoke over their plant and into the sky.
“Tires are the hardest thing to put out, besides fuel,” Paree said.
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Some employees were tasked with staying at Callaghan overnight. They couldn’t close the outside gate and didn’t want anyone to get hurt on their property, he said.
Callaghan Tire’s employees were given Friday off, he said, but the building wasn’t damaged and everything is functional.
“The business itself is fine,” he said.
Paree was told it could take 24 hours to a week before the business could start up again.
During a press conference Thursday, Southern Manatee Fire & Rescue Chief Brian Gorski said the fire could have an environmental impact.
According to an incident report from the Florida Division of Emergency Management, 100 gallons of motor oil were released into the nearby stormwater system.
“It is unknown as to whether the release has entered any other surface waters,” the report said.
According to Jon Moore, acting press secretary of the Office of Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, the Bureau of Fire and Arson Investigations has not found any evidence at this time of the fire being malicious or suspicious. Investigators also haven’t found any evidence at this time suggesting that the fire was caused by a car backfiring, Moore said.
The investigation into the cause, origin and nature of the fire is open and ongoing.