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Two local businesses devastated by major fires

NORTHEAST HOUSTON– Major fires struck two well established businesses in the Aldine area last week, causing smoke that could be seen for miles, and bringing out city and volunteer fire departments in full force to fight the large blazes.
Tuesday’s fire was in the Little York Auto Parts storage yard, at Little York near Aldine-Westfield Road. It started at about 2 pm, and burned for several hours before being brought under control by Houston firemen.
Thursday’s blaze started early in the morning, around 6 am at the McCauley Lumber Yard in the 600 block of Aldine-Bender Road, near the Hardy Toll Road. This blaze was larger, ultimately destroying the main office and sales building at the lumber yard, jumping to a second nearby storage building, and burning for over 4 hours before being brought under control by Houston and several Volunteer fire departments. These included Little York VFD, Aldine VFD, and Westfield VFD.

At the height of the fire, which reached 3 alarms, HFD had many of their aerial deluge trucks flooding the building with water, with minimal effect. Inside, building materials, paint, chemicals, solvents such as paint thinners, and other highly combustible items fed the fire until almost totally consumed.
HFD District Fire Chief Tommy Dowdy commented that the low blowing winds made it more difficult for firemen to fight through the thick smoke, and they had to rely on air packs and rotation of crews to get near enough to the flames.
Aldine-Bender was shut down for most of the day, as fire and rescue apparatus numbered several dozen trucks, and totally blocks and surrounded the fire location.
At the end of the day, as the fire was out and cooled, workers for the lumber yard started to clean up, and prepare to go back to work. Arson investigators were on the scene, but at press time had no indication that the fire was anything but an accident, perhaps due to faulty wiring.
In the Little York fire, investigators pointed toward the theory that workers using acetylene torches to cut apart the junked cars may have accidentally caught some of the fuels, such as gasoline or oil, on fire that remained in the vehicles.
District Chief Arthur Broussard said that no one was injured in the blaze, and damage was mostly confined to about a dozen cars in the salvage yard.
However, because of the thick black smoke from the fire, it actually looked worse than it was. Traffic on Little York was blocked by emergency vehicles, most from the city of Houston, from 2 o’clock when the fire was discovered until late in the afternoon.
Arson investigators have not finished their report but theorize that it was an accident. The Auto Parts business has returned to normal service by the end of the week.