ALLIANCE, Neb. — All hands were on deck Tuesday morning in Alliance to respond to a local tire shop on fire with 50-to-60-foot flames.

The first fire call was at 2 a.m. on Tuesday morning. WestCo tire on Third Street in Alliance caught on fire and collapsed.

Alliance Fire Chief Troy Shoemaker said this fire was especially difficult to extinguish due to the circumstances.

“It’s not only tires that we had inside the structure,” Shoemaker said. “There was also oil storage in 55-gallon drums and five-gallon containers.”

Shoemaker said by 9 a.m., several fire officials had been working for seven hours. 

Shoemaker explained that rubber is a hydrocarbon, which fuels fire. He said it takes a lot of water to put out a rubber and oil fire and they had to utilize four fire hydrants.

“I’ve been doing this for almost 32 years," Shoemaker said. "They were big flames.” 

Shoemaker said earlier Monday morning there were two explosions from inside the building.

“We’re pretty sure with the two explosions that occurred, one of them could have been a propane bottle that was on an indoor forklift,” Shoemaker said. “The second one we’re absolutely sure it was a 55-gallon oil drum.”

Shoemaker also explained that because of the way the roof of WestCo collapsed, there were pockets of fire in hard-to-reach places.

“We’re probably going to be here for the majority of the day because there’s going to be a lot of hot spots and pockets inside there,” Shoemaker said.

Although the cause of the fire is still unknown, Shoemaker said the fire started outside of the building and traveled inside.

“When we arrived on scene, we had a hefty column of smoke,” Shoemaker said. “We had an active fire on the west side of the building.”

Shoemaker said it was a positive experience to see the support of the community.

“When things like this happen, the good part of humanity really comes out," Shoemaker said. 

Shoemaker said he appreciates the support from other first responders and the community for dropping off water and food a block away.

Shoemaker also said that the community should continue to stay away until the scene is completely safe.

Alliance Fire Department, Alliance Police Department, Hemingford Fire Department, Public Works, the Alliance Water Department, and the Electrical Department all responded to the fire.