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Fire chief: $1.25 million a ‘conservative’ loss estimate in Feb. 16 auto shop fire

Fire chief: $1.25 million a ‘conservative’ loss estimate in Feb. 16 auto shop fire

by Mike Robinson

CENTRE WELLINGTON - A local business now stands in ruins following a late night fire on Feb. 15.

The first call to Frey’s Trucks on the 3rd Line west of Belwood came in at 11:42pm, with fire crews responding from Fergus, Elora, Arthur, Grand Valley and Guelph.

Centre Wellington Fire Chief Brad Patton said 37 firefighters in total were on the scene, assisted by tankers from Arthur, Grand Valley and Guelph.

The garage, owned by Mike Frey, was still smoldering on Feb. 16 as the Advertiser interviewed neighbour Michael Vandriel.

He was snowmobiling at around midnight when he saw fire trucks coming down the road - first one, then another four or five.

“At first I thought it was my place, and got scared right away, so I turned around quickly and noticed it was (Frey’s) shop on fire,” said Vandriel.

He took his snowmobile into a nearby field to ensure he was not in the way of fire crews. But even from 500 feet away, the flames were “very hot,” he said.

Vandriel, who noted perhaps the fire started near the back of the shop, left at around 2:30am and firefighters were still on scene.

Patton confirmed fire crews remained at the site until around 6am.

Vandriel said the auto shop deals primarily with Ford diesels and transport trucks.

“He’s helped a lot of lot of people over the years. I hate to see this happen,” Van Driel said of Frey, who employs a handful of people at the shop.

Vandriel suspects a number of those employees lost all their tools in the blaze.

Patton considered $1.25 million “a conservative estimate” of the loss due to the blaze.

He said the cause is unknown, but the fire is not considered suspicious.


February 17, 2017


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