ST. HELENS, Ore. -- A two-alarm fire at the Les Schwab Tire Center in St. Helens closed Highway 30 on Friday, rerouting the huge Hood To Coast relay teams going through the area. It sent heavy, smelly smoke over the St. Helens community.
The destructive fire broke out around 4 p.m. Scappoose Fire PIO Rhonda Melton said a witness came into the store to report the outside wall of the store was on fire. Two employees ran out to try and fight it with extinguishers but the flames quickly spread up the side of the building. There were no reports of injuries.
Hood To Coast runner were detoured for leg 17 with police and volunteers there to send them on the safer route along a nearby parallel road. Leg 18 drivers will be taking the same route as the runners. Jude Hubbard with HTC said crews were accounting for the extra time in the race.
Raw video: Les Schwab fire
A huge plume of smoke could be seen and a lot of onlookers lined the streets nearby. Crews had to shut down power lines to around 850 people to allow firefighters to fight the blaze.
Firefighters rushed to lay nearly two miles of fire hose to battle the blaze. Les Schwab water service comes from two small wells. They rolled out 10,000 feet of fire hose from the St. Helens city system to get adequate water on the burning tire store. They sprayed half a million gallons in less than four hours.
Fire crews said the store burned very quickly and it could still burn for hours due to the number of tires in the facility. The building and contents will be a total loss. Four customer cars were also destroyed in the fire.
Oregon Department of Environmental Quality officials said there was no air quality alert, but advised neighbors to avoid the fumes or shelter-in-place.
KGW Reporter Mike Benner contributed to this report