High winds shred tents at Russo-Steele car auction in Scottsdale

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Alicia Barron By Alicia Barron
By Alicia Barron By Alicia Barron

SCOTTSDALE – Governor Jan Brewer declared a state of emergency Thursday night following declarations by many other counties around Arizona including Maricopa County.

In Sedona police and fire crews are trying to evacuate homes in low-lying areas. In Scottsdale strong winds have blown over two tents at the Russo-Steele Auto Auction.

The auction had to be evacuated and there is major damage to the tents. There were no injuries reported.

Most people at the auction at the time were inside the main tent, which is still intact but two other tents were destroyed along with a lot of expensive cars.

When the wind ripped into the tents at around 6 p.m. between 5,000 and 10,000 people were attending the Russo and Steele Auction.

Ron, one person in attendance, explains, “You could see the whole tent lift and shred." John Dinger, another person who was present says, “We heard screaming…whole tent was gone."

Drew Alcazar runs the auction. He tells 3TV, “It happened quickly…lost first tent which went up and over the cars toward the freeway."

Firefighters spent about an hour searching the entire auction site for anyone who may have been trapped.

What is left of the massive tents at the annual auction in north Scottsdale continued to flap violently in the wind leaving the auction cars exposed to the harsh elements.

A lot of the collectors' cars have spent years in garages and have barely seen any kind of weather, let alone a fierce storm.

For safety reasons, police are keeping all car owners out at least through the night.

Hazmat crews responded to check it out after generators and gas heaters blew over. Everything was turned off and secured.