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Aerial video from the Thursday, July 13, 2017, Red Lion Auto Salvage fire on Craley Road. John Pavoncello/The York Dispatch

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A gas tank explosion inside a building injured a worker and caused a massive fire at Red Lion Salvage on Thursday afternoon, police said.

 

Emergency responders were called to the salvage yard in the 300 block of Craley Road in Windsor Township just after 1:45 p.m. 

A worker was using a grinder inside a building at the salvage yard to remove a gas tank from a vehicle when the gas tank exploded, according to Detective Don Hopple Jr. of York Area Regional Police.

The explosion caused the building to catch fire, and that fire spread to a tower of cars nearby, Hopple said.

The worker was taken to York Hospital with burns, the detective said. His condition was not immediately available.

Smoke could be seen up to five miles away from the site of the blaze. 

"The fire was so heavy," Hopple said.

Fire crews from at least a dozen companies around York County were called to the scene along with the York County hazmat crew. A crew from the Red Cross was at the scene to provide canteen services for firefighters.

Red Lion Fire Chief Joe Yahnke said it took about 2½ hours for firefighters to have the fire under control. He estimated between 100 and 125 firefighters assisted in the blaze.

Yahnke said between 100 and 150 cars were damaged.

 

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The affected area is about the size of a football field, and the fire spread to nearby woods. A team specializing in fighting forest fires was called in to handle the forest blaze while other crews got the salvage yard fire under control.

Hopple said the fire destroyed the main building and office at the salvage yard.

"That's destroyed — there's nothing left of it," he said as he pointed to the building.

Yahnke said no firefighters were injured. He said at 5:15 p.m. that he expected firefighters to be there for an additional three hours to do some overhaul.

Explosions: Hopple said the salvage yard was evacuated after the fire started. He said fire departments were dealing with explosions. Those explosions could be heard throughout the early firefighting as "pops" coming from the yard.

Dylan Jacoby, of Red Lion, came down to the scene on Craley Road because he knows someone at the salvage yard, he said.

 

 

He said he was at home when a loud boom — the explosion — knocked pictures off his wall.

"We heard the big booms; it shook the whole house," Jacoby said.

He said he could see the smoke from his Red Lion home.

A damage estimate for the fire was not immediately available Thursday afternoon.

 

 

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