Small fires still burning at Moore Tires, but they pose no danger, fire chief says

Departments from all over the area came in Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2024 to help douse the flames.

ROCK FALLS – The fire at Moore Tires is mostly out, but the few smoking hot spots that remain trapped under roof panels and rubble in the back of the building pose no danger to the public, acting Rock Falls Fire Chief Ken Wolf said Wednesday.

“Nothing’s going anywhere. There’s no danger to anyone, and the winds are favorable,” Wolf said.

He’s asking the public to be patient while the department monitors the situation and the fires burn themselves out.

Firefighters were called to the longtime tire dealership and repair shop at 2411 E. Rock Falls Road/Route 30 about 4:25 a.m. Tuesday. The 70,000-square-foot structure soon was fully engulfed in flames. No one was injured.

Although the cause of the fire still is under investigation, “we do not believe it to be suspicious,” Wolf said.

It appears to have begun in the first-floor repair shop.

He’s still coming up with a total estimate of the damage. According to Whiteside County property tax records, the building was worth $409,000, but that doesn’t include all the equipment and trucks that were inside at the time.

More than 25 agencies from Whiteside, Lee, Ogle and Bureau counties responded, many bringing tenders that, because of the sub-zero temperatures, were freezing to the point of being inoperable and had to be rotated to various stations to defrost so they could get them back into service, he said.

Residents need not worry about chemicals released into the air and water. The Environmental Protection Agency did a preliminary investigation, checking the nearby creeks and drainage ditches and the water runoff, and found “nothing immediately worrisome,” Wolf said.

Another team soon will be coming through to check some more, he said.

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Kathleen Schultz

Kathleen A. Schultz

Kathleen Schultz is a Sterling native with 40 years of reporting and editing experience in Arizona, California, Montana and Illinois.