Wednesday, June 9, 2010 | 8:31 p.m.
Pallet storage yard fire
Twenty minutes before a massive blaze consumed a pallet storage yard off Boulder Highway on Tuesday night, Margarita Boyd said she didn’t notice anything unusual.
She was working late at the Barrett Business Center, across the street from IND Pallets, 400 Max Court, when she heard fire truck sirens.
Curious about what was happening, Boyd said, she looked out a second-story window and was horrified to see huge flames and black smoke rising from the pallet yard.
“I was thinking, ‘I need to get out of here,’” said Boyd, who could feel the heat from the flames as she left the building. “It’s something I’ll never forget.”
The fire was reported about 7:20 p.m. and caused an estimated $3 million in damage, said Henderson Deputy Fire Chief Steve Goble. Nobody was injured, he said.
Goble said the fire is one of the largest in Henderson in recent years. In September 2003, a fire destroyed 349 apartments near Russell Road and Boulder Highway, causing about $10 million in damage.
Flames from Tuesday’s fire were visible more than 13 miles away, and smoke could be seen across the valley.
Connie Hunter, the general manger of a Huey’s Mart just across the street, said the clerk at the gas station called her at home, saying the store was being evacuated.
“She’s a calm person but didn’t know what to do. I got scared when I looked out the window because I could see smoke,” said Hunter, who lives miles away on Horizon Drive.
Hunter said officials immediately shut off the gas at Huey’s Mart and rushed the clerk to safety. Guests at the Holiday Inn next door were also evacuated.
Hotel General Manager Keith Tinnin said about 60 guests were at the hotel at the time of the fire. Some of them were out when the building was evacuated, he said.
“Thank God it wasn’t directly behind us,” he said. “It looked very bad and, in my unprofessional opinion, it looked like it could develop (toward) the hotel.”
The blaze was brought under control by 10:30 p.m., but fire crews were on the scene until 4 a.m. mopping up and putting out remaining hot spots, Goble said.
On Wednesday, Henderson firefighters stood by with water hoses while crews sorted through piles of charred wood and ash. Some hot spots flamed up again and had to be put out.
A melted semi truck with white ash covering the engine sat in the middle of the yard along with several burned forklifts.
A few propane tanks were also found in the ashes.
Goble said a number of propane tanks at the site were responsible for some explosions Tuesday night.
Owners of businesses close to the blaze were inspecting their buildings Wednesday afternoon. Many of them had broken windows and melted signs from the heat.
Kenquest Medical, next to the pallet yard, lost all of its windows and has been boarded up. Goble said almost everything inside the building was lost in the fire.
He said Compassionate Pet Cremation also sustained minor damage. Owner Allen Silberstein said his building had roof damage and structural damage to walls facing the pallet yard.
The cause of the fire has not been determined, Goble said. Fire investigators said they anticipated a lengthy investigation to determine the cause of the blaze.