Whalen Tire in Butte opened a new warehouse Tuesday to store tires that will be shipped throughout the state.
The service stalls of the former Whalen Tire store on Park Street in Uptown Butte are being stacked full of tires that are arriving by semi trucks daily. The first load was already being unloaded early Tuesday and more are on the way.
Whalen Tire owner Tike Whalen said people in Butte are jumping to offer his family business help and the offer to use the old store is a case of someone outside the community helping too. Pratt Electric bought the building, but Whalen said the owner called Saturday to offer the structure as a temporary warehouse. Whalen says it’s too small to do the whole job, but it’s a start.
Whalen plans to rebuild the burned out warehouse in Butte, preferably as close to the old building as possible. In the meantime, Whalen stores across Montana will struggle to meet customer demand for a few weeks, but the company says suppliers are helping out and the business should be back to normal within a month.
Whalen Tire lost more than 20,000 tires in a fire that ignited at its warehouse in the 700 block of South Utah Avenue at about 3:18 a.m. on June 11. Fire officials worked feverishly to douse the blaze, which prompted health warnings and shutdowns of gas and power to the area for part of the day.
Officials have described the fire as "very suspicious" and they are offering up to $1,000 for any information into the cause of the blaze. Investigators with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms are assisting in the fire investigation. Authorities hope to know the cause of that blaze by this week.
Two other fires reported on the morning of June 11 have been ruled arson. A 6 a.m. fire at an unoccupied home at 725 South Arizona Street and a 7 a.m. blaze at 135 East Park Street, which consumed part of a sliding garage door in the back of a vacant building, were caused by arson, according to Butte Silver Bow Fire Marshal John Lasky. (Tire Review/Akron)