JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Several crews worked together Monday afternoon to quickly put out a fire at a boat building and repair shop containing several flammable chemicals. It was a race against time for firefighters.
"I understand why people get trapped in their homes. It's unbelievable how quickly it filled up with smoke to the point where you couldn't see anything," said Glass PAC industries owner Ronald Skelton.
Skelton is now sifting through all that remains of his business after what he calls a freak accident. He said it all started Sunday when he spilled a small amount of gas.
"It hit the floor, and I couldn't smell it or see any trace of it. I didn't think that that was an issue," Skelton recalled.
It wasn't a problem until Monday when he tried to start a motorcycle he had been working on for quite some time.
"It cranked, but it backfired, and as soon as it backfired, it caught that gas on fire," said Skelton.
Skelton said he tried to knock the flames out himself, but soon realized things could turn deadly.
"I had gallon jugs of chemicals, five-gallon cans of acetone, adhesive putties, epoxy putties, stuff like that," Skelton continued. "Flammable chemicals."
Skelton said he's happy to have made it out alive, but regrets not being able to save most of his belongings.
"No one's injured. I could've been, but as soon as I realized it was ahead of me, there wasn't much I could do. The rest is all water and damages. It reinforced to me just how quickly and how easily freak accidents can happen," said Skelton.
He hopes to one day be able to put back together the pieces and move forward.
The official cause of the fire is still under investigation by the Jackson County and Gautier fire departments.