At least 30 cars damaged in explosive fire at Phoenix propane business

The fire burned several vehicles in a parking lot near Sky Harbor Airport. The cause of the fire is under investigation.
Published: Jul. 21, 2023 at 10:37 AM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

PHOENIX (KTVK/KPHO/Gray News) — Dozens of cars are damaged and hundreds of propane tanks are scattered around a neighborhood near Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport after an explosive fire at a nearby propane business on Thursday afternoon.

Fire crews were called out to Bill’s Propane Service around 5 p.m. When they got there, flames were shooting out of the business and propane tanks were being shot into the air.

“They literally become missiles,” Phoenix Fire Capt. Rob McDade said. “Very dangerous situation.”

More than 150 firefighters battled the flames at the height of the fire, which burned through at least 30 vehicles.

Firefighters had to let the propane burn off completely before they could prevent any more flames.

Firefighters cleared a mile radius around the business. Homes northeast of the business were told to evacuate. After a couple of hours, they were allowed to return.

However, businesses were advised to remain evacuated.

The Arizona Animal Welfare League has its main shelter nearby. Firefighters say it was evacuated and didn’t catch fire. A nearby community college was also evacuated.

Aerial video showed rows of cars damaged at Sundance Airport Parking.

When the fire first started, an Arizona Department of Transportation camera showed flames shooting out of the business and thick black smoke could be seen for miles.

Flights at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport weren’t impacted. Valley Metro said light rail trains would not go past the stops near the area.

It’s unclear what started the fire.

McDade said this type of fire is harder to fight compared to a typical building on fire. They have to surround it, cool the area down and then turn off the gas.