Skip to content

Wrecking yard fire causes extensive damage (3 photos)

Fire sent black smoke into the evening sky

In 22 years of business, Nicklin Auto Parts and Recyclers had never been the scene of a fire, owner Dennis Krajcar said.  

“I’m a little relieved,” Krajcar said on Thursday morning after a fire scorched a rear addition to the main building on the property. “The damage is not as bad as I was initially thinking. But it’s still pretty extensive.”

The fire started around 7:30 p.m. Wednesday evening, sending plumes of black smoke into the evening sky. The business is about one kilometre east of the city on Eastview Road, occupying about 12 hectares (30 acres) of land.

A large crew of firefighters from all Guelph fire stations, with some assistance from the Guelph-Eramosa Fire Departments, fought the blaze, which burned out a number of vehicles at the rear of the building.

Flames also crept inside the building, Tony Sabatini, Guelph Fire’s chief of fire prevention said. Extinguishing the fire was difficult and the conditions were extremely hot for firefighters.

“This is our first fire, and hopefully our only fire,” Krajcar added. “The initial phone call I received was that the building was destroyed. That was my biggest fear, that there was nothing left and what were we going to do tomorrow.”

The business has 14 employees. Krajcar expected to get it back up and running in relatively short order.

Plans to construct a new building at the site were already in place before the fire.

“It could have been a whole heck of a lot worse. It’s not, so our immediate concern is to get the Ministry of the Environment happy,” Krajcar said. “We’ve got to get the front out here cleaned up really quick. Then we’ll get the building in operation and get right back at it.”

He explained that run-off from the firefighting effort carried some hazardous materials down to the front entrance and ditch along Eastview Road. The run-off was contained by absorbent padding.

“There is quite significant damage,” said Sabatini. “Our original assessment of the fire once it was put out is that it actually originated on the outside against the building. That’s where we have an area of origin.”

Sabatini said there is no indication yet of the cause.

“The fire itself [let] off a great deal of heavy, black smoke, and popping sounds, which one passerby thought were explosions,” Sabatini said. “But we’ve determined it to be tires popping.”

Four cars on the ground were burned out with the paint completely removed, while parts on the front-end of a truck on a hoist had melted off.

“The fire did get inside,” he added. “We had a breach at the back of the building and it did get inside a little bit. Some of the damage on the inside is nowhere near as extensive as the outside. But we did have a breach and part of the building will have to be rebuilt.”