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Fire burns ‘junked’ vehicles behind Franklin’s Garage

Fire destroyed several old “junked” vehicles parked behind Franklin’s Garage Thursday afternoon around 5 p.m., according to South Boston Fire Chief Steve Phillips.

The origin of the fire has yet to be determined, Phillips said Thursday afternoon, as plumes of black smoke rose into the clouds.

The heavy black smoke was seen for miles around.

At the time the fire was reported, South Boston firefighters were nearby on Highway 58 extinguishing another vehicle fire reported east of Franklin’s Garage near Seven Oaks Baptist Church, the chief said.

After extinguishing the first vehicle fire, firefighters from South Boston responded to the second blaze behind Franklin’s Garage where they were assisted by firefighters from Halifax, Turbeville and Cluster Springs Volunteer Fire Departments.

Donnie Ellington, owner of the garage, used a tractor with a bucket on the front end to lift a blazing van so firefighters could put out the fire underneath the vehicle before it spread to other old vehicles and parts nearby.

A large pile of wooden pallets burned several feet away under the watchful eye of firefighters.

“They’re just going to let those pallets burn up,” said a bystander.

A third report of a vehicle fire near Sheetz in Riverdale came in shortly after 5 p.m., but that turned out to be an overheated vehicle, Chief Phillips said.