SALEM - No one was injured when a van owned by a Canton cleaning company went up in flames next to the Aldi's building Tuesday evening, causing the store to be evacuated as a precaution. Capt. Shawn Mesler of the Salem Fire Department said it appeared the fire started in the driver seat and front passenger seat area of the 2005 Ford van, but the cause was unknown at this time.
He said a worker for Absolute Floors reported the gasoline engine which powers the cleaning equipment had only been running about five to 10 minutes when he discovered the blaze.
Mesler explained the workers were inside the store when the cleaning machines they were using quit working. One of them came outside through the loading dock at the back of the store to investigate and found the van fully engulfed.
Capt. Scott Mason of the Salem Fire Department peers inside a Ford van owned by Absolute Floors of Canton which caught fire while parked in the loading dock area next to the Aldi’s store on East State Street just before 8 p.m. Tuesday. The cause of the blaze was unknown. (Salem News photo by Mary Ann Greier)
It was parked in the loading dock area right next to the building. The gasoline engine sits right behind the seating area inside the van.
Salem Police Lt. David Casto said dispatch received the call at 7:51 p.m. for a car fire in the Aldi's parking lot. The van was registered to Jeff Beatty of Bowerston and the driver was identified as Joshua Jolly, 30, of Canton, who was working for the private cleaning contractor.
As firefighters got closer to the scene, they learned how close the vehicle was to the building. Casto reported hearing a series of explosions. People inside the store had been evacuated and the inside of the building was checked to make sure the fire had not extended.
Firefighters also checked the roof and found ash particles, but nothing that was burning or on fire, Mesler said.
The van was totaled.