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Massive fire breaks out at truck repair business in Rockdale


A large fire was burning late Friday afternoon in the southwest suburb of Rockdale, where black smoke filled the sky.

It took more than an hour – and 20 nearby agencies – to bring the fire under control.

“It was a crazy scene,” said Lisa Wlodek, who works nearby.

The fire started around 4:15 p.m. near South Larkin and Moen avenues at Longhorn Truck Repair, which is a commercial business that repairs tractor-trailers.

“It went from a small fire to a huge, fiery fire. Instantly it was bad,” said John Plotke, owner of Plotke Asphalt. “Then all of a sudden we heard an explosion.”

Plotke’s commercial neighbours, Longhorn Truck Repair.


“All the smoke was at least going where there are no buildings. If it blew that way, all those buildings would have been affected because there was debris in the air falling, so we’re grateful for that.” , Plotke said.

Plotke described hearing a series of explosions as the fire raged.

“There are probably over 100 tractor-trailers parked all over the property. It’s a big piece of land. And that would just be transferred to each tractor-trailer and then we’d have mini tire explosions,” he said. Sgt. Robert Baikie with the Rockdale Police Department.

That wasn’t the only challenge facing first responders. When they arrived, there were still employees inside.

sergeant. Baikie said they were trying to salvage what they could.

“Every time we took one employee out, two others would rush in trying to get things. So we had to keep coming back to get people out, so it was a bit chaotic until we got people out. people,” Baikie said.

No injuries were reported.

It is not yet known how the fire started. What is known is that a semi-trailer truck parked on the west side of the building – which was not being worked on at the time – somehow caught fire and eventually set the building on fire.

The fire also spread to dozens of other tractor-trailers.

“It’s really close to where you live. You see this stuff on the news all the time, it’s never just in your backyard,” Plotke said.

More than half of the building that caught fire is a total loss, officials said. The east side of the building was undamaged.

Late Friday evening, crews were still on hand to monitor hot spots.