Fire crews respond to Downtown Memphis blaze

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Fire investigators are working to determine what caused a blaze at a downtown business Monday afternoon.

According to authorities, they were called to PB&J Towing at 788 South Main Street around noon after a fire broke out inside.

"One of my co-workers came up to me and told me that the building next door was on fire," said Louie Howerton, who works about 50 yards away from the PB & J Towing building.

"We started to walk closer, and as we got up on the building it exploded or a huge explosion happened," said Howerton. "We just stood here and watched everything fall apart."

Flames engulfed much of the property, but the fire department isn't sure if something exploded.

"We can not confirm that but with the number of vehicles, and if there was fuel in those vehicles, there's always that potential," said Wayne Cooke, a firefighter with the Memphis Fire Department.

Crews were on scene in minutes and got the fire under control by 12:45 p.m.  Four employees were on duty at the time, but thankfully no one was hurt.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation. Witnesses on the scene said they heard what sounded like an explosion, but fire officials were not able to confirm that information.

Howerton says he feels for his work neighbors, and he never expected something like this to happen.

"I mean, it sucks to happen to anybody really," said Howerton. "It' a little different. An eye-opener, definitely. "

An eye-opener for him, but a tough road ahead for this business.

This is not the first time, WREG has reported on a fire at this local business.

Back in 2015, several employees were working on a car when it caught on fire. That blaze quickly spread to several other vehicles and the building, causing an estimated $14,000 in damages.