Trash fire causes flaming 'chain reaction' at Southwest Side junk yard

CaptionCloseArson investigators are investigating a fire at a Southwest Side junk yard that caused a train line delay of about 20 minutes Friday afternoon. Firefighters responded to Longhorn Truck Services, near West Malone Avenue and Frio City Road,...

Trash fire causes flaming 'chain reaction' at Southwest Side junk yard

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Arson investigators are investigating a fire at a Southwest Side junk yard that caused a train line delay of about 20 minutes Friday afternoon. 

Firefighters responded to Longhorn Truck Services, near West Malone Avenue and Frio City Road, around 11:40 a.m.

San Antonio Fire Capt. Stephen Ersch said the fire is believed to have begun when someone at the junk yard set fire to a 55 gallon barrel full of trash and wood, which then spread inside the junk yard.

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Firefighters on Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017, respond to an apartment fire that began as a vehicle fire in the 4500 block of Pecan Valley Drive. (Caleb Downs, J.M. Scott)

"The fire jumped to other pieces of equipment," Ersch said. "It was a chain reaction. One thing caught, then the next and the next and the next."

Ersch said several cars were destroyed in the fire, and flames crossed through a fence enclosing the junk yard.

A rail line camera near the property noticed the smoke and shut down a train on the line for about 20 minutes.

"I think they said about every hour it's shut down costs them $1 million," Ersch said. "That's why we tried to get it started up so quick."

Juan Ramon Martindelcampo, 31, is the son of the owner of Longhorn Truck Services, Ramon Martindelcampo. He said this is the first big fire at the property, though they've had a few "little scares here and there."

Martindelcampo said his father will most likely have to close down for a while, which concerns him because his father is disabled and relies on his income from the shop.

"I told my dad I'll come every Sunday and help him out," he said.

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Further, one of his father's tow trucks was damaged in the fire.

Ersch said arson investigators are looking into exactly what caused the fire, but they have a fair good picture of the incident right now.

"We'll see what they want to do in terms of violations and fines," Ersch said.

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