KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Firefighters braved the rainy, cold morning to battle a car fire that spread to include a northwest Knoxville muffler shop shortly before noon Thursday morning. According to the Knoxville Fire Department, they were called to the Mighty Muffler, 3800 Western Ave.around 11:45 a.m.
Owner Ricky Grubbs watched his business burn. He said work on a Ford pickup sparked it all.
"He was putting some pipes on, doing some welding on it - must have had a leak on it and it just caught," said Grubbs.
Grubbs said they tried putting the fire out with a fire extinguisher, but it quickly spread to the rest of the building.
He said his workers and two customers escaped, but they couldn't get the truck and another SUV out in time. He was in the process of contacting the vehicle owners Thursday afternoon.
"I'm just now getting ready to go into my office and get the paperwork where I can call them," said Grubbs.
He said they've had small fires from welding work before, but nothing that's ever gotten out of control. As a small business owner, this fire hit him hard:
"It's bad - I mean, not only for me, but it's my employees. Now we'll have to wait to rebuild stuff, and I don't know what they're going to do about jobs and stuff until we rebuild," said Grubbs.
He said they will rebuild.
"I've been here for 23 years and they know me - I've got a lot of customers. So I'll be here, I'll be back."
Firefighters blocked Western Ave., while they fought the flames.