MONONGAHELA (KDKA) — Heavy smoke and flames billowed into the sky Friday afternoon from a tremendous fire at an auto salvage yard in Washington County.

The flames reached 50 feet high and cars were exploding.

It took 75 firefighters more than two hours to bring that fire under control.

KDKA’s Christine D’Antonio Reports:

It was 4 p.m. when workers at the Pitt Mon Auto Salvage Yard in Monongahela were cutting some of the hundreds of vehicles they use for parts. Their tools created sparks and caught the strong winds.

“The sparks flared off a fire, and it got out of control,” said Chief Frank Hnatik, of the Monongahela Fire Department.

Click here for a photo gallery of images from NewsChopper 2.

Stacks of cars, filled with plastic and rubber, ignited and rapidly spread.

The 50-foot flames engulfed 400 cars.

“You get a stack of cars on fire, and then it just blows into the next stack and it just keeps rolling,” said Chief Hnatik.

The embers landed on the other side of the railroad tracks in the woods, igniting brush. Crews shifted their attention to dousing it before it could spread up the hill close to some homes.

NewsChopper 2 Over The Fire:

“You could smell like tires burning, and you could hear the noise because there was explosions, like something blowing up like the gas tanks down there,” said Frances Loutitt, a neighbor.

It took the fire crews nearly two hours to knock down the massive, intense blaze. Even late Friday night, crews were still on scene double checking for hot spots and starting the cleanup process.

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