Cars on fire after the explosion at the metal yard. (Courtesy Prosperity Metal Recycling)
PROSPERITY, SC (FOX Carolina) -
Newberry County deputies said a car exploded, setting several others on fire at a recycling company on Thursday.
The explosion happened at Prosperity Metal Recycling on Wheeland School Road in Prosperity, deputies said.
PMR's owner Robert Thornhill said the car had just come into the junkyard and an employee had the car on the end of a track hoe trying to stack it on top of some other cars when the car suddenly blew up.
Thornhill said the fireball came within a few feet of his employee, but he is OK and not hurt.
He said the explosion shook a nearby building. Thornhill said he's never seen this happen in 43 years.
No one was injured in the explosion and resulting fires, which have been extinguished, according to Thornhill.
Deputies said the explosion was an accident. They said as the employee was moving the car with the track hoe, it created a spark igniting gas fumes coming from a puncture in the gas tank.
The spark caused a small explosion and fire, subsequently setting three adjacent cars on fire.
Because this was the first accident of this type in 40 years at the yard, deputies said arson investigators from the sheriff's office, Newberry County HAZMAT and a bomb technician from SLED were called to investigate.
Additionally, Prosperity, Little Mountain, Fairview fire departments and Lake Murray Rescue Squad along with Newberry County EMS responded.
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