By Jim Smith

PEPPERELL (CBS) – Fire crews in Pepperell worked into the night Friday, keeping an eye on hotspots after a huge fire at a salvage yard kept them busy all day long.

The fire broke out at R.H. Willson Inc. on North Road.

Smoke could be seen for miles as firefighters from 17 locations in Massachusetts and New Hampshire responded.

pepperll2 Large Fire Rips Through Pepperell Salvage Lot

Smoke billows from a Pepperell auto salvage yard. (WBZ-TV)

Thick black fumes billowed as vehicles and other materials went up in flames. The inside of a building was also consumed.

Investigators believe they already know how it started.

“It was workers doing their work – welding, cutting metal and some fuel caught fire,” said Town Administrator Andrew MacLean. “It all goes up. Tires, fuel, oil, anything you would imagine at  an auto salvage yard is going to be flammable.”

pepperell Large Fire Rips Through Pepperell Salvage Lot

No one was injured in this Pepperell fire. (WBZ-TV)

Because of those materials, a hazmat situation was declared and some firefighters had to go into a portable decontamination unit.

Josh Powers was visiting his parents and says the whole town was smoky.

“It was still just smoke hanging low with the whole place. You could see it from a mile if not more away just how thick and black it was just pouring into the sky,” he said.

No injuries have been reported.

Jim Smith

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