South Congaree, SC (Paul Kirby) – A fire in the salvage yard of Columbia Auto Parts off Skyview Drive in South Congaree drew the attention of more than just firefighters Thursday afternoon. The large column of dark smoke that rose from the blaze caused residents and motorists to wonder what was burning. The source of the smoke and flames was a fire that was burning out of control in a portion of the salvage yard until county firefighters arrived and brought it under control.
Columbia Auto Parts has been in business for decades in South Congaree. They buy salvaged vehicles and then sell used parts from them, usually a part or two at a time. They have been a reliable source for used parts at budget prices for all types of vehicles since opening their doors years ago. They also provide wrecker services for automobile recovery.
The fire Thursday afternoon brought multiple units and personnel from Lexington County to the scene to bring the blaze under control. Lexington County EMS also responded to assist with the safety of all involved.
As some of the yard’s inventory burned, firefighters connected a large supply hose to the closest uphill fire hydrant for water supply. This forced police to close Pine Street for about an hour as the firefighters worked. After the fire was out, the battalion chief in charge made it a priority to drain and reload the hose on the fire service equipment so the road could be reopened as soon as possible.
These fires were common at this yard decades ago. They were usually ignited by tools that produced sparks when removing parts from vehicles in the yard. Those sparks caught the grass under the vehicles on fire and then the flames spread quickly. As times and techniques for removing those parts changed, and the current owner/operator focused more on safety, the fires became much less frequent.
Lexington County has said that there were no injuries because of the fire. The amount of inventory the business’ operator lost has not been released.