Crews battle fire at Parkersburg recycling business

Smoke from blaze could be seen for miles

Photo by Jess Mancini Water is sprayed onto the smoldering cars Saturday afternoon at RJ Recycling on Saturday afternoon from the Parkersburg Fire Department Tower 1. A battery that exploded during the scrapping process caused the fire, the department said.

PARKERSBURG — A battery that exploded when a car was crushed caused a fire visible for several miles around RJ Recycling LLC on Saturday afternoon, officials said.

The fire was reported by passersby and others to 911 and the Parkersburg Fire Department was alerted around 12:15 p.m., said Capt. Craig Wix the PFD. Because of the nature of the fire, the department responded with most of its equipment, he said.

“Flames were showing 20 to 30 feet in the air,” Wix said.

RJ Recycling is located in the 1800 block of Garfield Avenue across the street from the VFW post. The recycling operation also purchases metals.

Police closed portions of Garfield Avenue, 19th Street and other streets in the area for a period of time on Saturday afternoon.

Photo by Jess Mancini A crane operator moves cars Saturday so the Parkersburg Fire Department can douse the hot spots among the cars to be processed at RJ Recycling.

Wix said the fire apparently started when a car battery exploded during the scrapping process. The fire spread faster than the employees could put it out, he said.

Flames were visible at points around the county, Wix said. Black smoke rose several hundred feet into the air.

Firefighters sprayed a continual stream of water from Tower 1 into the smoldering cars. A crane operator from RJ Recycling moved the cars to find hot spots, Wix said.

Photo by Jess Mancini Cars burn Saturday afternoon in a car being scrapped at RJ Recycling on Garfield Avenue. The Parkersburg Fire Department sent its arsenal of equipment to the fire which was caused when a battery exploded during the recycling process.

Photo by Jess Mancini Parkersburg Firefighter Clayton Stunkard sprays hot spots in cars that caught fire Saturday afternoon at RJ Recycling on Garfield Avenue.