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Van full of extinguishers catches fire
Blaze at Central ‘all very surreal’
fire extinguisher2
Service technician Tony Taylor looks at the rows of fire extinguishers stored in the back of the van that caught fire. - photo by Jim Dean
An employee of a fire extinguisher company found himself in an ironic predicament Wednesday when his van caught fire.

Tony Taylor, who works for Cliff’s Fire Extinguishers, was working inside Forsyth Central High School when a blaze erupted in the van’s engine.

Taylor said he had 40 fire extinguishers inside the van.

“That’s plenty enough to put the fire out,” Taylor said. “This is all very surreal.”

Taylor didn’t know how long the van burned, but said he had been inside the school about 45 minutes when he found out about the blaze.

When he came out to check, Forsyth County firefighters had the situation under control.

“I would’ve put it out or at least attempted to put it out,” Taylor said.

The van was parked in a school parking lot behind the field house. No one was injured in the fire and a pickup parked near the van was moved before the flames could spread.  

The blaze gutted the van’s engine compartment, destroyed the front tires and melted the dashboard.

The fire extinguishers, kept in the back of the van, remained intact.

It could have been worse. Fire Capt. Jason Shivers said the extinguishers, which are pressurized, could have exploded.

“Certainly, the potential exists for a catastrophic rupture,” he said. “But fortunately what they contain is a harmless dry, chemical powder.”

Shivers said the blaze appears to have been accidental.

Taylor said he was grateful no one was hurt and that he wasn’t driving when the fire started.

E-mail Julie Arrington at