Video: Over 20 FDs battle Ill. salvage yard fire
Tenders shuttled water to the Granite City fireground as dozens of cars burned for two days
By John Badman
GRANITE CITY, Ill. — A massive fire engulfed dozens of cars Sunday evening at 111 Salvage near Granite City, sending thick smoke into the air that was visible for miles.
The fire at the auto salvage business at 2188 Highway 111, just north of Interstate 55, started around 6 p.m. Sunday and involved more than 20 fire departments. The call initially came in to the Long Lake Fire Protection District in Pontoon Beach.
It is not yet known how the fire started but oil, gasoline, plastics, styrofoam, leather and cloth all surrounded by steel car frames combine to make a fire that was difficult to extinguish.
Adding to the difficulty, firefighters were working in oppresive humidity and had no fire hydrants close enough to use hoses. Tanker trucks were called from every corner of Madison County to shuttle water to the blaze, including Godfrey, Holiday Shores and Marine.
Illinois 111 was closed from Sand Prairie Road south to I-55. Aerial towers were set up to fight the blaze, which sent billowing flames more than 100 feet into the air.
Madison County Emergeny Management was on the scene and provide much needed drinking water for firefighters who worked through the night.
On Monday morning, the fire was still raging as it spread from car to car in what can best be described as a fire storm. Hundreds of people stopped their vehicles to watch the inferno from Collinsille Road and Sand Prairie Road. Some of the spectators called the flames “impressive” and “unbelievable.”
Illinois State Police stationed troopers on I-55 to prevent motorists from stopping on the interstate to watch.
Tanker trucks drove to the former Venture store on Collinsille Road to refill as the closest hydrants to the blaze.
Aerial photos from the company’s website show hundreds of cars parked side by side on the multi-acre property.
Fire officials were not available to talk about the fire Sunday night but, it initial reports anticipated the blaze could last for days.
No injuries were reported and no evacuations were necessary since the location is so remote.