Arizona salvage yard fire destroys 9,000 motorcycles

Publish Date: 
Jul 3, 2013

RYE, Ariz. - No lives were lost, but a fire that ignited the night of June 29 at a motorcycle salvage yard destroyed 9,000 motorcycles before spreading to an adjacent mobile home park, where it consumed five mobile homes and a shed.

The Rye Fire started June 29 in the back of a home on the property of All Bikes Sales in Rye and burned for 12 hours, according to Gila County authorities. Flames lit up the night sky and exploding propane tanks complicated the firefight.

The cause was under investigation. Though firefighters identified where the fire originated, it burned so hot for so long that investigators may not be able to determine what caused it, Incident Commander Dan Bramble said. The fire was contained by noon the next day but was expected to smolder for days.

“It’s a very deep-seeded fire. As you can imagine, there’s quite a lot of antiques and collectibles that have made it difficult for firefighters to gain access,” Bramble told the Arizona Republic, which also posted video of the fire from KPNX.

Nine residents, including two children and the man who lived on the property, were evacuated and taken to a shelter at the Payson High School gym set up by the American Red Cross Grand Canyon Chapter. Rye is about 10 miles south of Payson.

Don Hopper, one of the residents evacuated from the mobile home park after living there for 16 years, told the newspaper that lot owner Ron Adler also lives in the trailer park. Hopper described the collection of rare and antique vehicles lost.

“I know he had a lot of stuff in there that you just don’t see anymore. Fully restored Knuckle, in the shed he had an Adler motorcycle, a bunch of early bikes,” Hopper said. “They were all mint, and then he ran his business selling parts. But those are all gone now.”

Bramble said firefighters were able to save many antiques and collectibles along the front and side of the property where firefighters could gain access to protect unburned property.

Posted by Holly Wagner