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Mountains of old cars like 'bowels of hell' still burning at Holly Hill business

Holly Hill fire still burning. (WCIV)

What quickly turned into a red inferno at Don’s Car Crushing plant in Holly Hill Friday night has now died down to plumes of white smoke blanketing piles of cars waiting to be crushed.

“It’s so big and it's so deep in the pile,” said Orangeburg County Fire Chief Teddy Wolfe. “The fire, it was 30 feet tall.”

A few small flames were still visible on Monday, three days later, deep in what Wolfe called the “bowels of hell.”

“The fire is burning down to the bottom of that pile,” he said. “We're not going to be able to get to that.”

READ MORE | Several county fire departments working to contain major fire at Holly Hill scrap yard

It’s been three days since the huge fire ripped through the Holly Hill business, leaving neighbors miles away wondering what happened.

“I was coming from Holly Hill, and there was huge smoke up in the air,” said nearby resident Wilbur Washington. “It looked like a tree. I didn't know what it was to start. I thought it might of been a house on fire but then it lasted so long.”

Crews from at least three counties battled the blaze, using foam to stifle the flames.

Wolfe said it’s the only trusted material than can contain a fire “the size of a mountain.”

“The plant staff has already offered to use one of their machines to start picking these cars out one by one so we can get down to the bottom of it,” he said. “Eventually it will go out, but a lot of it will burn out on its own.”

People said the smell of burning metal lingered, and it’s not the first time this has happened.

“Maybe 10-15 years ago but it wasn't as big as this one,” said Washington.

Wolfe said his crews have responded to three fires at the Holly Hill business.

The Orangeburg County Fire Marshal was on scene throughout the day Monday to try and determine a cause.

Wolfe said it will be weeks before they determine how much in terms of resources the department spent fighting this latest fire at Don's Car Crushing.

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