'Devastating' fire at Alberta dealership leaves 35 employees out of work
EDMONTON -- A fire destroyed the Edson Chrysler Dodge Jeep dealership early Monday morning, leaving dozens of employees out of work.
The first call for the fire came in around 3:40 a.m.
"When we first got here, on arrival, the front of the building was fully involved," Edson Fire Chief Tyler Robinson told CTV News Edmonton.
The fire was so large, Edson firefighters called in help from Yellowhead County.
"When we saw the magnitude of the incident, we already had two engines and a tanker from Edson coming, we immediately notified Yellowhead County."
Dwight Kennedy owns the building and lives next door. He said he could hear explosions.
"I imagine the gas tanks and gas blew up," he told CTV News Edmonton.
Damage to the dealership
Most of the building was destroyed, including the showroom, offices and more than half of the mechanical bays.
Three new vehicles in the showroom were destroyed, as were seven customer vehicles in the service area. However, more than a hundred vehicles outside on the lot were saved.
Robinson says the wash bays, which were separate, and a small part of the service area, are the only part of the dealership that might be salvageable. The rest of the building is a write-off.
"It’s under threat of collapse at any time."
Robinson is commending his team on fighting what he calls a difficult blaze.
"Because of the new vehicles and the combustibles inside the vehicle, for sure it added to the load of the fire."
"I’m very proud of the membership, and the job they did."
No injuries have been reported.
Out of work
The cause of the fire has not been determined. The department will be working with RCMP on the investigation.
Kamsen Iyer, the owner of the dealership since 2003, said about 35 people work for him. He hopes his insurance will cover lost income.
“I want to make payroll and I want to get them (the employees) paid. My computer system is burnt to the ground,” Iyer said.
In the meantime, he’s also trying to find a new location to open.
“If I can open up across the street, rent a place, put the cars there, then I can be in business again in a few weeks,” Iyer said.
Second fire in Edson
The fire at the dealership wasn’t the only fire in Edson on Monday morning. Shortly after crews called in help from Yellowhead County, they received a call about a vehicle fire on the other side of town.
"We were already on scene, and we had our mutual aid partners from Yellowhead County on the way here, so we actually diverted them and had them work on the vehicle fire while we worked on the structure fire."
Robinsin said it’s too early to say if the two fires are connected.
An earlier version of this story said there were 60 employees out of work. Dealership owner Kamsen Iyer said about 35 people work for him.