A quick response by local firefighters prevented a small fire in a West Longview vehicle salvage yard from turning into a “big, hazardous situation” Thursday morning, according to firefighters.

Almost 15 firefighters from Longview Fire and Cowlitz 2 Fire & Rescue responded to multiple 911 calls about a “large, black column of smoke and flames” coming from D and S Light Truck Parts on Dike Road, said Cowlitz 2 battalion chief Joe Tone.

Crews found a “small pile” of three vehicles on fire near the back of the salvage yard, Tone said, and they extinguished the blaze in about six minutes.

“We are very fortunate because scrapyard and junk yard fires can turn into big, hazardous situations if they aren’t contained quickly,” Tone said. That’s because the close proximity of the cars makes it easy for fire to spread, he said.

Oil, gasoline and other chemicals in “junk cars” can also create hazardous runoff that can pollute waterways, Tone said. Though there was a “variety of explosions” at the salvage yard as tires blew and gasoline caught fire, firefighters were able to contain the water runoff on site, Tone said.

“There were no areas sloping down to waterways. It was all collecting right on site,” he said.

Tone said the fire was likely started by a minivan with electrical or alternator problems.

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