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Spark from cutting catalytic converter near gas ignited west Columbus garage fire

Firefighters responded to a report of the fire shortly after 10:25 a.m. at a garage located in the 1500 block of McKinley Avenue.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — A fire that started inside a west Columbus garage was caused by a spark from cutting out a catalytic converter from a vehicle Monday morning, according to Columbus Fire Battalion Chief Steve Martin.

The fire started at a commercial garage in the 1500 block of McKinley Avenue.

According to Chief Martin, a worker was in the process of cutting the converter from the vehicle while there was gasoline next to him.

The garage, which has automobiles, diesel containers and propane tanks inside, was fully engulfed. 

"The fumes from the gasoline met the spark from the process and created a fire and follow up explosions from the storage of diesel, gasoline and propane in the building," Martin said.

The fire created more explosions from the storage of diesel, gas and propane in the building.

Martin added crews are watching for a runoff of hazardous material after battling the fire.

"Because this is kind of a vehicle scrapping operation, a lot of these vehicles still have oil, diesel, gasoline, those kind of things, radiator fluid so we’re throwing a lot of water. [All of that] is now floating on top of the water. We’re trying to collect all the hazardous materials off of the top of the huge puddles in the back parking lot," Martin said.

Crews are still at the garage to make sure the fire does not rekindle.

Martin said they had issues finding an operating fire hydrant, saying the first one was either broken or frozen. The second one was broken before finding a third one that worked.

Four people were in the building, one of which went to a hospital to be checked out for smoke inhalation. 

According to Martin, crews responded to a fire at the same location roughly one year ago on February 23. Martin said the cause of that fire was also from a cutting operation near gas.

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