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Henrico warehouse fire started by oily rag

Posted at 6:41 AM, Jul 18, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-19 08:26:56-04

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. - An early morning fire at an Eastern Henrico warehouse was started by an oily rag left on the ground, according to officials from the Henrico County Fire Marshal's office. Officials ruled the fire to be accidental.

Fire crews were called to the Wellborn & Wright warehouse, along the 3800 block of Carolina Avenue, off Laburnum Avenue, at about 5:10 a.m.

Sam Sikes owns the company.

"We design, fabricate, and install custom made architectural products, a lot of wood flooring, timbers, steel fabrications," he explained.

When crews arrived, they found heavy smoke coming out of the warehouse.

"In spite of the very heavy smoke conditions, firefighters entered the building with hose lines to extinguish the blaze, said  Henrico Fire spokesman Capt. Taylor Goodman. The fire was deep seated and hard to access, so firefighters went to the roof with saws to cut a large hole to allow the smoke and heat escape and make conditions better for those in the building."

All of the wood inside made it a lot tougher for crews.

"Not only does it add to what we call a few loader, the amount of fuel there to burn, but depending on how tightly it's packed, we can burn very hot and very deep-seeded and can be very difficult to get to where it is," said Goodman.

The fire and most of the smoke were contained to one section of the warehouse. A firewall between that and the rest of the building, as well as a working sprinkler system, kept the fire from spreading to the rest of the building.

"I'm hoping it's more smoke than fire, but we will have to find out once we get in there, said Sikes.

Sikes said he was thankful for Henrico County fire crews.

"You don't realize how much they do until you're in a situation like this," said Sikes.