Crews spent most of Saturday night battling a massive fire at a bike/automotive salvage yard in Rye that destroyed at least several homes and threatened the surrounding forest.
The fire appears to have started right before sunset towards the back of All Bikes, according to several residents who watched the massive blaze from the parking lot of the former Rye restaurant. Most had nothing more than the clothes on their backs, having little time to grab anything when the sheriff’s office excavated the 20-30 residents that live near the lot.
Ron Adler, the owner of All Bikes, said he had no idea how the fire started, but once he spotted the flames, he grabbed a hose and tried to save his home and prized bicycle and motorcycle collection.
Adler said he had amassed roughly 9,000 motorcycles, at least twice that many bicycles and dozens of classic cars in the two-acre lot over a 25-year period.
As black plumes of smoke filled the starry sky, pieces of scrap metal went flying as tires and tanks in the lot exploded.
Adler said he attempted to hose the fire down, but sheriff officials booted him from the area at least twice due to concerns for his and firefighters safety. He said he managed to get inside his friend’s Teresa’s trailer to let her animals out and left right before the flames reached the trailer.
A forest service spokesman on scene said firefighters were trying to keep the fire from spreading into the surrounding forest and homes. Firefighters from around Rim Country battled the flames with Payson Fire leading the efforts.
There are no fire hydrants in the area so crews relied on water tender trucks.
The American Red Cross opened a shelter for those evacuated due to the fire. Red Cross volunteers started setting up cots and blankets for overnight stays around 1 a.m. inside the old gymnasium at Payson High School. Evacuated residents are encouraged to come in for meals, snacks, water and coffee, and they also can receive assistance from Red Cross nurses and mental health volunteers.
Full details of the fire and eyewitness accounts in Tuesday’s Roundup.
Here is a link to a story the Roundup did on All Bikes in 2009 All Bikes and stuff.