TUCSON, AZ (KOLD News 13) - A brush fire that quickly spread and burned down a motorcycle parts business in Tucson Tuesday night is serving as a reminder of just how quickly a grass fire can move.
The Tucson Fire Department is encouraging home and business owners to clear their property of dry grasses and brush, along with anything else that could potentially start a fire.
“I started in 1977 and I had just seen the movie ‘Star Wars,’ and thought it would be a catchy name,” said 70-year-old Willie Frew, as he looked over his now burned down shop, Star Cycle, a motorcycle parts store. “Easy to spell, lots of advantages. It’s fun taking stuff apart when you don’t have to put it together again.”
That is until Tuesday night, when fire investigators say an early evening grass fire in the adjacent alley ignited, quickly spreading to his business. Inside was all of his equipment and parts, as well as a personal motorcycle collection.
“I had around 15 bikes in there, my old race bike, my Ducati,” said Frew. “Its a block building with a metal back door, a roll up door, but the fire found its way through.”
The fire moved quickly, blowing out windows and destroying the roof. However, firefighters were able to get a hold of the blaze before it spread to Musselman Honda's Service Center, which is next door to the property and less than two feet away.
The TFD is reminding everyone to clear their property of anything that could quickly start or help spread a fire.
“The monsoons come and they shower us and bring that moisture, and the weeds are going to come out after that,” said Andy Skaggs with the TFD. “They are going to grow as the days go on, months go on they are going to dry out, those weeds are going to become extremely flammable.”
Old furniture and toys in the yard should be thrown out, and properly maintain trees and the yard.
“Get a weed eater out and knock them down,” said Skaggs. “Your trash, anything like that, don’t stack it against your home.”
Firefighters battled strong winds Tuesday night, and believe millions in damage was prevented by swift action to keep the fire contained.
Frew says it is too soon to know whether he will try and rebuild the business.