NORMAN, Okla. – It took 33 firefighters an hour to get the Sunday evening fire under control at Hibdon Tires in Norman.
The store is located along I-35 just north of Main St.
The fire broke out at the store around 5:45 Sunday, just after employees had closed the store for the day.
They were all able to make it out safely.
The tire fire sent thick black smoke high in the air that could be seen for miles.
It beckoned dozens of curious residents who turned out to see exactly what was burning.
“It looked like about half of Norman was here, all turned out to find out what was going on in pretty much curiosity,” said Max Thomas.
Thomas and his wife, Jackie, saw the flames from the east, jumped in their car and came to check it out.
“Hibdon Tires is pretty much a landmark around here,” said Thomas.
Aaron Anglin watched the fire erupt from his job next door at Waffle House.
“They were closing up and it caught on fire, started smoking real bad, just huge fireballs,” said Anglin.
“Well a tire fire is basically oil. So as the tire burns, it melts and you have oil that sits on the ground. Sometimes it’ll get in the drain system, so we’ve got crews that’ll be putting booms down to collect that runoff,” said Deputy Fire Chief, Jim Bailey with the Norman Fire Department.
Fire officials say the fire started in the upstairs area where the tires were stored.
The fire marshall is looking into the cause.