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.
feels like I lost a piece of me. This is where we came and just relaxed," says
Hayden Belcher, grandson of Leroy Belcher.
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.
were going to make this into a venue in two years, it was going to be called ‘junkyard
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.
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