No one was injured and no buildings were damaged in a fire Thursday afternoon in Altheimer that officials described as looking a lot worse than it was.
Altheimer Volunteer Fire Department Chief Eddie Anderson said firefighters were called to a paint and body shop at 306 E. Front St. at about 2:30 p.m. A large plume of thick black smoke was visible from a long distance away, so the firefighters in Altheimer called for mutual aid from other departments in the county.
“But it didn’t take us but a minute to knock it down and get it under control,” Anderson said. “You could see the smoke for a long ways, but it looked a lot worse that it was.”
The Altheimer firefighters canceled the call for mutual aid and handled the fire themselves.
When the smoke cleared, Anderson said that the fire had not spread to the body shop building or a nearby residence. An employee at the body shop had been burning a trash pile. He went back inside, noticed that he could feel the heat rising and went back outside to find that the fire had spread to pile of auto parts elsewhere in the yard and the fire was getting closer to a nearby residence.
The pile included fiberglass and other materials that caused the thick black smoke.