The San Antonio Fire Department had a novel sort of motorcycle incident to respond to recently. Instead of rushing out to the highways for a collision or a “spill” (when a motorcyclist falls from his bike), the department headed to a strip mall.
That was the location that more than 20 units responded to after they received a call about a fire in a motorcycle shop. The blaze was bad enough that it was graded a two-alarm fire, but that was mostly due to the weather.
Thankfully, though the fire was bad, no one was injured, and the fire didn’t spread to any other shops.
At 2:40 on Tuesday, October 10, the fire department arrived at a motorcycle shop in a strip mall. The shop, called Big Harry’s, was filled with smoke and flames.
Big Harry, man or shop, has yet to speak to the public about the event. The last update on the store’s Facebook page is dated at September 1 and simply recounts the new store hours.
The exact cause of the fire has not been released, but foul play is not expected. The exact damage has still not been determined, but it is sure to be large.
Members of the fire department say it was a stroke of luck that the building in which the blaze broke out was relatively new. Newer strip malls have been designed with firewalls, which has made all the difference in this event because it guarded against the spread of the fire. Many older shopping centers do not have such technology, and so the fire could have been devastating for many, especially considering the hour it started, when many would have been out shopping.
As a precautionary measure, the firefighters cut power to the entire building during the event.
The fire department spokesman said the department acquitted itself well and managed to control the blaze in a timely manner.
“The first arriving crews did a good job of getting ahead of the fire,” Arlington told reporters.
Motorcycles are, of course, notoriously risky vehicles to ride. With the lack of protection on all sides and their relative smallness compared to other vehicles on the road, they are the unfortunate victims of accidents—and serious accidents—more often than other types of vehicles.
Motorcyclists should be advised to take careful precautions when out riding, such as wearing reflective clothing, driving with headlights, and riding at the speed limit or with the speed of traffic. Cyclists should also avoid lane splitting, a practice of driving between the lanes to maneuver around slow or stopped traffic. In Texas, lane splitting’s legal status is ambiguous, but in most states, it is illegal because of the higher risk of danger such driving tactics incurs.
Now, motorcyclists must also contend with a new risk: simply walking into the store to buy a new bike.