Owner says fire caused $100K+ in damage to 50-year-old business

GRANTVILLE, Pa. (WHTM) – The owner of a Dauphin County business destroyed by a fire Friday said he now faces at least $100,000 in damage, all without insurance.

“I just saw a big plume of smoke and I figured he was burning something,” said Crystal Brownsberger, who lives near Weaver’s Wrecking Yard in Grantville.

She saw the smoke from her house; others could see it for what seemed to be miles around. One viewer sent abc27 News photos she took of billowing black smoke she saw from I-81.

“I figured it was something big,” Brownsberger said. “It was kind of scary, because you see all the tankers and all the other trucks come down and you just hope that no one’s hurt.”

Responders said no one was.

The fire started around 11 a.m when a heated car part fell in some gasoline. The auto salvage yard’s owner, Rodney Weaver, said he was in the process of removing a running board from the side of a van when a hot piece of metal hit gas that had spilled from a tank.

“It caught some tires on fire that were there with it, and before all the crews could get here, it spread to the building,” Leona Fire Company assistant chief Brent Hostetter said.

Roughly 18 fire companies showed up, he said, some of them understaffed due to the holiday. The first ones there tried to contain it.

“It just spread too fast,” Hostetter said, “and we pulled everybody out and we just attacked it from the outside.”

Weaver said the building was used for an office and for storage. Equipment inside, including a forklift, burned up.

None of it was insured, he said.

It wasn’t just a building and some equipment, either; Weaver also lost some merchandise, including a couple cars parked near the building and a store of car parts inside, making it just that much harder to make up for the loss.

Weaver estimated the damage at $100,000 or more, a major blow to a business he’s owned for almost 50 years.

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