Three fire departments and emergency personnel were dispatched around 6 a.m. today to a fire at a Harrogate business, located at 663 Londonderry Road.
According to officials, a neighbor heard a large explosion and looked out to find the roof of Hunley Repair Shop already collapsed with the building in flames. The building was the former home of Imperial Trucking.
Seven fire trucks responded to the scene, in addition to the Claiborne County Sheriff’s Department and Claiborne County EMS and EMA, according to Harrogate Volunteer Fire Department Chief Rick Davis.
A second large explosion occurred as the firefighters were setting up their hoses but no one was injured.
“It was the largest explosion that I have personally ever seen, complete with a large mushroom cloud,” Davis said. “There were also a few more minor explosions as we fought the blaze.”
Hunley Repair Shop has been owned and operated by Jimmy Hunley for over 22 years. The business primarily mounted different types of tanks to truck frames. At this time the cause of the fire is still unknown but will be investigated at a later time after the building cools down. There were several vehicles damaged from the explosion: A large truck that the business was working on, a jet-ski or boat, a Dodge truck, Ford Mustang and a Chevy Blazer.
Harrogate Voulunteer Fire Department was the lead department with mutual aid coming from the Cumberland Gap Volunteer Fire Department and the Speedwell Volunteer Fire Department. The Claiborne County Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security also responded.