UPDATE: Morning fire damages McMinn Co. wrecker service - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: Morning fire damages McMinn Co. wrecker service

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An employee burned her hand trying to save this truck from the fire. One is destroyed, owner says it was brand new. An employee burned her hand trying to save this truck from the fire. One is destroyed, owner says it was brand new.
The garage fire at Benton's Wrecker Service in Riceville. The garage fire at Benton's Wrecker Service in Riceville.

UPDATE: In McMinn County, an investigation is underway into what caused a large early morning fire at a wrecker service. 

It happened on County Road 135 in Riceville just after 4:00 Thursday morning. 

No one was hurt in the fire. 

Shortly after it broke out, employees jumped into action trying to save as many wreckers as they could moving them to safety. 

One employee suffered a minor burn on her hand trying to get inside one wrecker to move it away from the flames. Luckily, she is okay. 

David Benton and his wife take in what used to be. 

Before them sits a pile of mangled metal and smoking heap of debris where Benton used to work on his vehicles. 

The charred skeleton of one wrecker stands out. Benton says it was his newest one, waiting on inspection to hit the road. 

Employees and firefighters tried their best to save as much as they could. 

"The metal building was beginning to cave in. We did manage to get some of his wreckers and equipment moved out of the way to save it the best we could," Brandon Ainsworth, Riceville Volunteer Fire Department chief said. 

There wasn't much firefighters could do when they got there. The fire was too big and too dangerous. 

The chemicals and equipment were exploding from the heat and pressure making it unsafe for firefighters. 

"When you start dealing with wrecker services and shops you're getting into torches, gases, etc. There were a lot of explosions there most likely that came from those gases," Ainsworth added. 

Investigators now focus on figuring out a cause while Benton waits to find out what insurance will cover and what he will have to replace himself. 

Benton says he will be out of business Thursday and hopes to be back on the road as soon as Friday. 


A Thursday morning fire has damaged a McMinn County business. 

The fire was at Benton's Wrecker Service on CR-135 in Riceville, and required efforts of five fire districts.

One employee burned her hand while trying to move one of the tow trucks to save it from the fire. The owner tells Channel 3 the truck was new and is destroyed.

The owners are sifting through the debris to collect any salavagle items.

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