As some crews battled a fire in one portion of ThorSport Racing’s shop early Monday morning, other firefighters went inside the building and saved the team’s Camping World Trucks and other equipment.
Capt. Jim Johnson of the Perkins Township Fire Department in Sandusky, Ohio, provided new information about how 12 Trucks or chassis were saved in an exclusive interview with NBC Sports. Three more Trucks were saved when the haulers they were in were evacuated. A team spokesperson said three Trucks were destroyed in the fire and one was under water in the basement — where the fire originated.
The fire was reported at 12:12 a.m. ET and crews did not leave the 100,000-square foot shop, home to the team’s four Camping World Truck Series teams, until about 4:45 p.m. ET. A total of 19 fire units from four communities and the state fire inspector were called. Johnson was unsure how many firefighters were on site.
Johnson said it took so long to get the fire out because of rubber decking on the roof that continued to burn. They brought in an excavator to tear down one side of the building to get to the fire.
“If I wouldn’t have done that we would have probably lost the entire building,” Johnson said.
Instead, Johnson estimated only one quarter of the building was lost.
He told NBC Sports that while some units battled the fire, he sent crews into a portion of the building not threatened to push the team’s Trucks out of the shop. Johnson said this took place around 3 a.m., about three hours after the first units arrived.
“I had the manpower, so I was able to get about six guys at a time sent in and they would push the Trucks to the door and then the ThorSport employees would grab it where there was no smoke and push it down the ramp and to the grass,” Johnson told NBC Sports.
The team stated that no one was injured.
The fire comes days before the team heads to Iowa Speedway for Saturday’s race. The team says it plans to compete.
The four-truck ThorSport team — the longest tenured in the Camping World Truck Series — raced last Friday at Texas Motor Speedway with two-time series champion and current points leader Matt Crafton, Rico Abreu, Ben Rhodes and Cameron Hayley.
Where the team will prepare its vehicles before this weekend’s race had yet to be determined.
A spokesperson for Kyle Busch Motorsports, a fellow Toyota team, stated that they had reached out to ThorSport Racing officials and offered whatever assistance is needed from parts and pieces to a place to work.
A Toyota spokesperson told NBC Sports that many teams, including those from competing manufacturers, were offering their assistance to ThorSport Racing.