By BILL ARCHER
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
A Mercer County business was destroyed Sunday morning as a result of a fire that emergency responders believe started as a chimney fire, and quickly spread through the wooden roof trusses.
“We received a call at 9:24 a.m. (Sunday) to respond to a structure fire on Gardner Road at Mike’s Collision Repair,” Chief Tim Farley of the Bluestone Valley Volunteer Fire Department said. “Mike (Gunter) has had the business there for several years. It’s his sole source of income.”
Farley said that the blaze started as a chimney fire. “He uses a wood-burning stove to heat the garage,” Farley said. “The fire went up through the roof, but the building has a modern metal roof. The roof wouldn’t let the heat escape and the fire spread out to the roof trusses. When they burned, the building collapsed.”
Farley said that Gunter is well known locally for his excellent body work.
“He had some antique cars in the garage that he was working on to restore,” Farley said. “He was able to get three or four of them out, but some were lost.”
Firefighters with Bluestone Valley were assisted by the Athens, East River and Matoaka volunteer fire departments. Firefighters cleared the scene of the fire at 1:30 p.m.
“We stayed up there to hit all the hot spots after the building collapsed,” Farley said. “There were no injuries in the fire.”
— Contact Bill Archer at firstname.lastname@example.org