Auto shop

Port Townsend auto shop owner and employee set fire

PORT TOWNSEND — The owner and a mechanic from Gary’s Cars and Trucks put out an oil rag fire in the auto shop before firefighters arrived.

Owner Charles Gary and mechanic David Stratton found rags of burning oil in the store on Tuesday afternoon and hit them with two fire extinguishers and a garden hose. They put out the fire before firefighters from East Jefferson Fire Rescue arrived, Gary said Wednesday.

“We were very lucky,” he said. “If it had been after hours, we wouldn’t have been able to get a store or even cars, if it had spread.”

Firefighters arrived at the auto shop and car dealership on Sims Way at 1:09 p.m. after a 9-1-1 call from Stratton to see smoke billowing from the roof. Gary and Stratton put out the fire on their own.

Firefighters stayed long enough to make sure there were no embers or other burning materials left, said Phyllis Speser, public information officer.

The cause of the fire remained under investigation Wednesday, Speser and Gary said.

Damage was minimal, mostly slabs of rock. Gary estimated the repairs would cost between $500 and $1,000.

Deputy Fire Chief Brian Tracer, who is also the County Fire Marshal, was impressed with Gary and Stratton’s quick response.

“That’s what we teach in our fire extinguisher courses,” Tracer said.

“First, have fire extinguishers of the correct caliber easily accessible.

“Second, make sure you maintain your fire extinguishers properly. In the event of a fire, call 9-1-1, then if the fire is small and you can safely do so, use the fire extinguisher to spray the base of the fire and hopefully put it out while moving away from the fire. fire to the exit.


Jefferson County reporter Zach Jablonski can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 5 or at [email protected].