MANCHESTER, Tenn. - No one was injured when a massive fire broke out at Kirchhoff Automotive in Manchester, prompting an evacuation and support from multiple agencies.
The fire broke out around 5:30 p.m. Wednesday. The plume of smoke was visible from miles away and multiple explosions were heard as firefighters tried to put out the blaze.
"We know they had three or four explosions. We assume the propane tanks probably, hopefully nothing a little bit bigger," said John Miller, a witness who works at a nearby plant.
According to Manchester Fire Chief George Chambers, the fire started outside the warehouse on Volunteer Avenue in an area where plastic storage bins were being stored on the backside of the building.
The building itself didn't sustain as much fire damage as it did heat and smoke damage. Most of the flames and smoke that were visible were from the burning storage bin.
Officials said the plant was evacuated in less than six minutes. Initial reports indicate the building and equipment had heat and water damage.
According to Coffee County Emergency Management Agency Director Allan Lendley, Manchester firefighters were able to "knock down" the fire.
One facility in the industrial park was evacuated. About 40 to 50 firefighters responded to the scene.
Tennessee Department of Transportation officials monitored the interstate as the smoke billows over the road.
Lendley urged anyone in the area to stay away from the industrial park area until everything was cleared
“Its a large facility, might have 1,000 or 1,500 people that don't have a job tomorrow," Miller added.