Fire destroys ETX family business - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Fire destroys ETX family business

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TYLER, TX (KLTV) -

A fire Sunday afternoon destroyed three buildings at what was once Belcher's Auto Ranch in Tyler.

The fire started at around 5 p.m. off of FM 850 in East Tyler, near Highway 31. 

 Fire officials say no one was seriously injured in the fire. One man was taken to ETMC in Tyler to be treated for a heart condition, after trying to pull items from the fire.

"It feels like I lost a piece of me. This is where we came and just relaxed," says Hayden Belcher, grandson of Leroy Belcher.

Hayden says his grandfather opened Belcher's Auto Ranch more than 35 years ago.

"I know this makes my grandfather pretty sad because this is something he built with his own hands and now it's just burnt."

Smith County Fire Marshal Jim Seaton says it brings back memories, "Back in my teen years I used to buy auto parts and things like that here."

After the auto yard closed, Hayden turned one of the three buildings on the property into a music hang out. He says the property was about to have a new name.

"We were going to make this into a venue in two years, it was going to be called ‘junkyard jams'."

Officials say no one was inside any of the buildings when the fire started. Black smoke from burning tires filled the air as Hayden, his father, and grandfather tried to save what they could.

"When I got here the first building was completely engulfed in flames. I was able to get my drums and some other articles out that were of importance and watched everything else burn," Hayden Belcher says.

All three buildings are destroyed. Still, Hayden says he is not giving up and one day ‘Junkyard Jams' will stand in place of the debris.

Chapel Hill, Jackson, Winona, and Whitehouse Fire Departments all responded to the fire. ETMC sent two units to the scene and the Smith County Sheriff's Office and Tyler Police Department assisted in blocking off FM 850 while firefighters got the flames under control.

Officials are still investigating the fire and don't know how it started.

Hayden Belcher says the fire caused more than $50,000 in damage. 

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