Investigators unable to find evidence of what caused destructive Saxton Tire blaze

Published 10:17 am Thursday, December 29, 2016

The cause of Monday’s fire that consumed Saxton Tire will remain undetermined, Vicksburg Fire Chief Charles Atkins said Wednesday.

Because of the way the fire burned through the repair shop, investigators could only identify an area in the office, where the fire began, but not the exact point of origin, he said.

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“Due to the lack of evidence, we just couldn’t find anything to say that it was started by an electrical situation or something else. We don’t have that information,” Atkins said.

The Mississippi State Fire Marshal and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were also called to evaluate the site, and their findings were the same — no cause can be determined.

“We don’t have that evidence,” Atkins said. “If it’s something that caught (fire), we usually have a pattern to go directly to the source, and we don’t have that.”

The methods used to control the fire, along with the lack of evidence left to study, brought the agencies to their conclusion. He said the metal structure, gasoline, tires and other combustible items typically found in garages are what made the fire burn in a way that made it impossible to find the needed evidence.

“It got pretty hot,” he said. “The tin is deformed from being so hot.” 

Atkins said owner Greg Warnock told him he did have insurance and the company would be coming in soon to assess the damage of the building that Atkins called a total loss.

Around 9:30 p.m. Monday, Saxton’s Tires, located 1401 South Frontage Road, became engulfed in flames after Warnock, who was working on his daughter’s car after hours, noticed black smoke coming from the office area of the building, said Vicksburg Fire Deputy Chief Craig Danczyk.

“Warnock called 911 and then he started getting the cars out of the shop,” Danczyk said.

Warnock was not able to remove all of the cars, and the fire damaged those left. Because the building was on a conventional foundation, Danczyk said the fire burned from floor to roof causing a total loss of the shop. It even burned through a power line and an Entergy truck was called to the scene.

Danczyk knew Monday finding a cause of the fire would be challenging.

“So much was lost. It’s going to be difficult to identify the point of origin,” Danczyk said.