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Truck center fire causes $1 million worth of damage
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It took seven fire engine companies and about 25 firefighters to extinguish a blaze Sunday afternoon at the Gainesville Truck Center on Athens Highway.

The Hall County Fire Department responded to a call received at 3:57 p.m. A Hall County deputy called in the fire after spotting the smoke, which was visible from Athens Highway.

The Gainesville Truck Center, at 2145 Athens Highway, is owned by Nick Allison.

"We had a 26,000-square-foot building with heavy smoke showing upon our arrival," said Hall County Fire Capt. Scott Cagle.

"We entered the building and started extinguishing the fire. We had to cut down doors before we could make an entry because it was locked and secured."

Cagle said the fire looked much worse than it was.

"Once we cut through the doors, it wasn’t that bad of a fire," Cagle said. "After that, it took us about 45 minutes to an hour to get it under control."

Cagle said no one was inside the building when the fire started, and no one was injured while the blaze was extinguished. A security guard was the only person on the premises when the fire broke out.

The building houses a maintenance facility and is valued at approximately $4 million, and the fire caused about $1 million worth of damage, most of which involved the contents of the building.

Cagle said there were several tractor-trailers inside the building, and one was completely destroyed in the fire, while two others sustained smoke damage.

The fire began in one of the tractor-trailers, and then spread to the building itself, Cagle said.

"It was a battery charger that was left on and plugged up to a battery over the weekend, and the battery evidently dried out and that’s the reason it caught fire," Cagle said.

The Hall County Fire Department will continue to investigate, but Cagle said the cause of the fire appears to have been accidental.

Some leaked oil in the building hasn’t been cleaned up, but Cagle said the business will open today.