Investigators from the Virginia State Police have joined the Floyd County Sheriff’s Department to determine the cause of a massive fire that destroyed Joe’s Garage and related businesses of Joey Kaylor Thursday.
The blaze gutted the 12-bay garage, sent the ceiling crashing down from the back, closed down U.S. 221 for a while and threatened adjoining properties as first responders from Floyd and Montgomery counties fought to bring the conflagration under control.
No injuries were reported from the inferno that sent thick black smoke into the sky and created a rare traffic jam just north of Floyd.
The fire also destroyed a number of vehicles inside the facility and the apartment where business operator Kaylor lived with his wife and child. Jon Beagle also lost part of his BBQ operation.
Kaylor ran the garage, Sagebrush Management and Rube Mountain Farm — a hog operation — from the site.
News of the fire started discussions on Facebook Thursday night and several residents urged support to provide aid to Kaylor and his family. Some are setting up accounts to help.
Kaylor told WDBJ TV the fire started in the cab of an 18-wheeler he was working on Thursday afternoon and quickly spread. He told The Roanoke Times he was trying to charge the battery in the truck when he heard a “pop” and sparks started the fire. The flames spread and, fueled by 200-300 news tires in the shop, was soon out of control.
Floyd County chief investigator Jeff Dalton and another deputy stood watch over the site Friday afternoon and waited for Virginia State Police investigators who were traveling from Northern Virginia to start the probe.
Floyd Countians have come by with offers of help, including a solar powered generator to provide assistance to the fence to protect the hogs he kept on the property.
Kaylor says he appreciates the help but said others in the county need more help and urged residents to contribute to the Red Cross or Feeding America.
Still, residents are rallying on Facebook to get assistance to Kaylor, his wife and child. Kaylor told Orlando Salinas of WDBJ says he was still wearing the clothes that were burned.
“You couldn’t ask for a worse situation,” he told Salinas.
Kaylor is a colorful figure who declares himself “the hateful mechanic.” On his web site, he says:
With three generations of gear heads before him and a sense of humor that’s anything but g-rated, Joey Kaylor, owner and lead technician of Joe’s Garage, Inc., was born to be The Hateful Mechanic.
He managed the auto service department at Autoville before opening Protocol Automotive and moved just outside of Floyd on U.S. 221 in 2009. In 2012, he changed the name of the business to “Joe’s Garage.” He added the property management firm and the hog farm.
Recently, property and building owner Earl Frith issued an eviction order to Kayor, who consulted with Floyd attorney Jonathan Rogers about the matter.
(Edited after original publication. Blue Ridge Muse urges contributions to help a father, mother and child left homeless by this fire. You can contribute online at YouCaring or you can contact Floyd County Cares, 100 E. Main St. Ste 108, Floyd, Virginia 24091 )