RALEIGH — A fire of unknown origin destroyed Wallace Auto Parts and Services located in Raleigh early Tuesday morning.

The business manufactured agricultural products and coal mining equipment.

More than 40 firefighters from Eldorado, Harrisburg and Galatia battled the blaze for several hours. The ruins of the metal build-ing were still smoldering about 10 a.m. No one was injured in the blaze.

“The only thing we can tell you is the fire was busting through the roof, we got the tone at 3:07 this morning,” said Eldorado fire chief Mike McKinnies. “We called in two other departments. We called in Galatia and Harrisburg. I called in Harrisburg with a ladder, stuck it up and ran a five-inch line down to the hydrant and started getting water in.”

McKinnies said firefighting efforts were delayed until electrical power to the building was shut off.

“It took us a little bit of time to get the power company in here,” he said. “We were halfway scared in reference to putting a solid stream into it.”

Accelerants stored in the building also created anxious moments for the fire departments.

“There is all kinds of stuff,” McKinnies said. “We had oxygen tanks all over the place. They had 15 in one cluster. There was a whole bunch in the back room that didn’t go. Most of them didn’t go. Some of them did go, but the burst disk worked on them liked they were supposed to and let the stuff escape instead of blowing up.”

Firefighters attempted to enter the building through an office entrance, but were pushed back by the fire. McKinnies said the crews were forced to take a defensive posture after that point.

It took a couple hours to get the blaze under control. Firefighters remained on the scene for several more hours battling hot spots.

les.winkeler@thesouthern.com . 618-351-5088

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