A commercial compressor used to run a jackhammer was the cause of what was initially reported as a truck on fire in the parking lot of SunTrust Bank off Whitlock Avenue on Tuesday, according to Marietta fire officials.
Commander George McKeehan, the Marietta official in charge of the response to the fire that broke out at about 6:45 p.m., said despite initial reports from 911 callers, there was no truck involved in the fire.
McKeehan said contractors working on the bank’s remodeling project were using the compressor when it burst into flames.
“They were busting up concrete, and it just exploded,” McKeehan said, adding that while no one was injured and the bank was not damaged, the compressor was completely destroyed.
Mike Smith, a Marietta resident who works at Marietta First United Methodist Church across the street from the bank, said he didn’t see the initial explosion, but as soon as he stepped on to the street corner at North Marietta Parkway and Whitlock Avenue, the flames were hard to miss.
“We were walking over here to the Square to grab some food, and I saw the smoke. When we got up to the crosswalk, we saw the flames,” Smith said, adding that at its peak, the flames reached between 10 and 15 feet high.
Smith said the smoke billowed off the compressor in a thick, black pillar and reeked of diesel fuel and burned rubber.
“The tires blew while we were standing there,” he said, adding that the wind fanned the flames. “It kept feeding it and making it worse and worse.”
Smith said firefighters were on the scene in about five minutes and quickly doused the flames.