The Morning News â€” Leslie Mielke
Take a peek into the OK Trailer building at 480 N. State in Shelley. The service area and showroom were destroyed by fire early Tuesday morning. The fire was thought to have started in the service area.
SHELLEY â€” An early morning blaze destroyed the OK Trailer building at 480 N. State in Shelley on Tuesday. Authorities said they believe the fire started in the service area.
"We're still in business," said OK Trailer owner Bob Hudman. "Our service work has slowed down but we will have it up and running in the next few days."
A mobile trailer has been set up as an office at the front of the lot.
Firemen were called to the fire about 12:30 a.m. The fire was out a little after 4 a.m.
The fire caused propane to explode; tires were burned, said Shelley assistant fire chief Randy Adams.
"This is the hottest fire I've been on," Adams said, "We couldn't even pull our trucks in here.
"When we arrived, the service area was completely engulfed," he said. "After the overhead door between the service area and the showroom fell down, the fire moved into the showroom.
"All the fire was looking for was air," he said. "It took about 10 minutes to burn the showroom."
"We started fighting the fire between 2 and 2:30 a.m.," he said. "The residents around the area were evacuated for awhile."
Fire crews from Shelley, Firth and Blackfoot battled the blaze. Four pumper trucks were used. Lots of water was put on the fire, Adams said.
There were no injuries.
"This was a very hot fire," said Shelley fireman and OK Trailer salesman Ryan Shurtz. "The building is a total loss.
"We focused on containment and moved the RVs away from the building," he said.
"Flames could be seen as you crossed that first canal north of Firth," said Firth fireman Vincent Winn Larson.
Firth fire chief Bruce Anthony said when he got to the fire, he pulled the fire truck just one truck length onto the site because "any closer, I thought it could melt."
The state fire marshall was on site in the morning. An insurance cause analysis person was expected to be on site in the afternoon.
Adams was waiting for confirmation about where and why the fire may have started.
Two firemen were still on site at noon, making sure the hot spots were out.
OK Trailer was a cinder block building with wooden beams. There was a metal roof overlaid with wood shingles that collapsed in the fire.
The shell of the building was still standing but the inside of it was black. Trailers inside the building at the time of the fire were burned and melted.
"This is a family-owned business," said OK Trailer co-owner Mike Ball. "We started in business in 1957 as an OK Tire franchise.
"That's where we get the OK in OK Trailers."
Ball was busy Tuesday contacting people whose RVs were affected by the fire.
"We are trying to be pro-active," he said.
"People have been so patient and courteous," Ball said. "We appreciate the firemen who were here all night. The firemen's wives were bringing them water and Gatorade."
"The response has been overwhelming," Ball said. "I can't keep up with the phone calls and the texts."
Eaton's Body Shop and Eagle Rock RV Service Center have offered service facilities, he said. Sand Hill Media, better knowns as KUPI99 Radio, delivered office supplies. Broulim's brought food. Mr. Pizza brought pizzas.
OK Trailer moved into the building on North State in 2003. The showroom measured 5,200 square feet. The shop was approximately 75 by 100 square feet. About 12- to 13,000 square feet were destroyed.
The loss is estimated to be between $1- to $2 million.