Employees react to B20 Auto building fire


CLEAR LAKE, Iowa – As fire crews worked to contain the blaze at B20 Auto on Wednesday afternoon, employees watched in shock as their workplace went up in flames, caused by a spark from a grinding wheel on a car.

“I came up and seen a guy was cutting and sparks were flying and it just caught fire and everything just went up real fast,” said David Jara, who has worked at the salvage yard for 12 years. “It just started up, couldn’t get it under control and everything within three minutes, the whole building was just in flames and we just got everybody out and got away.”

The blaze sparked just before 4 p.m. and caused 300th St. North of Clear Lake to be shut down in both directions for several hours while firefighters from across the area worked to contain it. But the amount of items in the building made it difficult to control.

“There’s lots of materials, it’s a salvage yard and there’s lots of materials inside,” Clear Lake Assistant Fire Chief Mike Keene said. “There’s tires and so forth with the equipment and vehicles, so it just took off pretty fast inside the building.”

Jara says the hardest part may be Thursday when they survey the damages in the light and look to the next steps.

“Not knowing what we’re gonna do next besides just not knowing what we’re gonna do for work,” he said.

No injuries were reported.

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